Footie fundraiser for MND remembers Kevin

Linda with her ball boys, Braiden and Reigan
Linda with her ball boys, Braiden and Reigan
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Edinburgh mum Linda Courtney hopes people will pitch up for the annual charity football fundraiser in memory of her husband, a youth coach who died after battling motor neurone disease.

Kevin was diagnosed with the progressive terminal illness in 2006 and passed away two years later at just 46.

Every year the family have organised a tournament to raise money for charity MND – this year is the tenth Kevin Courtney Football Fundraiser.

Kevin, who was a big Celtic fan, played for football teams from a young age. His passion led him into coaching local youth teams, including Newcraighall and Cleekim, until he became too ill.

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles. This may cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided. There is currently no cure or effective treatment for MND and the average life expectancy from diagnosis is just 20 months.

During the tournament two teams, led by Kevin and Linda’s sons, Kevin Jr, 34, and Grant, 29, and made up of his old teammates and Kevin’s former students, compete against each other to raise cash for MND.

Linda, who works in social care for Edinburgh Council, said: “All welcome, and it’s donation only. I want to raise funds because MND Scotland is reliant on voluntary funding to provide care and support to people living with Motor Neurone Disease in Scotland. Hopefully one day we will find a cure.”

“While Kevin was facing MND, we received a lot of support from MND Scotland. Their grants allowed us to get a wet room fitted and we also got help from their Welfare and Benefits team. Over the past ten years we’ve raised around £10,000. Friends and family have been so generous.

“My sons took part in the MND Scotland Fun Run at Holyrood Park last year with their sons Reigan, 5, and Braiden, 5.

“My grandkids never got to meet their grandad so it’s nice they can do something to be connected to him.”

Iain McWhirter, MND Scotland’s Head of Fundraising, said: “We can’t thank the Courtney family enough for their longstanding support of MND Scotland with their annual charity football tournament.

“It’s because of people like Linda, Kevin Jr and Grant that we’re able to continue funding information, care and support services for people affected by MND in Scotland – as well as funding cutting-edge research into a cure.”

The fundraiser will take place on Saturday 21 July at Jewel Playing Fields in Duddingston, at 1.30pm. The fun family day out will also include face painting, a bouncy castle and more.

Later the family will hold a gathering of close family and friends, with an auction, disco, raffle and buffet to raise funds.