A FOOTBALL tournament in memory of a legend of the game has been reinstated.

Stocksfield FC has reintroduced the Ivor Gray festival to honour the late coach, referee and organiser.

Ivor Gray MBE, of Guessburn, died aged 86 last summer. He was presented with his MBE by the Queen on June 13, 2007 for services to youth football.

A fundraising campaign started after his death in recognition of his service to grassroots football and the local community saw hundreds raised.

“He was a gentleman”, said David McMillan, chairman of Stocksfield FC. “If anybody ever needed any help, Ivor was there.

“He liked to see the way the club was thriving. He loved it when he came down and everybody was wearing the same kit.

“With Ivor passing away last year, we decided to resurrect it (the tournament) again for his memory.”

Youngsters on local U7 and U8 teams across the west division all took part, with U9 and 10 teams set to play this coming weekend (May 14).

Hexham Courant:

All participants receive a commemorative medal, with trophies and plates awarded to winners.

"It was absolutely fantastic", added David. "We're looking forward to more this weekend.

"The feedback we got from the parents was fantastic; they really enjoyed it. It was a nice, dry day, it warmed up as the day went on, so it was really really worthwhile.

"It was nice to see a different type of coaching as well."

Both Stocksfield FC teams won the cup at the first leg of the tournament, which saw nearly teams compete and over 100 goals scored.

Amateur sport was all but stopped during Covid-19 and the club had difficulty bouncing back after delays to coaching and DBS checks caused by the pandemic.

“Football was a big miss”, added David. “We had them training once or twice a week, they were playing a Saturday, some kids play the Sunday and all of a sudden, you had nothing because of Covid. It was hard.

“Covid’s not going anywhere, but we just have to be careful in how we live our lives.”

Stocksfield FC U15 recently triumphed in the West Div Cup 2-0 against Prudhoe Storm.