A DUDLEY walking football club is staging a tournament in memory of a much-loved player who died suddenly.
The Steve Bragg Memorial Tournament will take place at Summerhill School, Kingswinford, on Sunday.
Walking football teams from as far afield as Leicestershire will be competing in the all-day event.
The tournament is being organised by Hartshill Strollers in memory of the late Steve Bragg who died while on holiday in Spain in April 2016.
Father-of-two Steve, who lived in Tividale, Warley, was 51.
Mark Grazier, chairman of Hartshill Strollers, said: “The tournament will take place almost exactly 12 months to the day after Steve’s tragic death.
“Club membership is restricted to the over 50s, so Steve was one of our youngest members.
“His sudden and untimely death came as a terrible shock to everyone at the club.
“Steve had been a member for only a few months but was very popular and greatly respected.
“I believe that, in time, he would have become a key member of the club, both on and off the pitch.
“He was a highly gifted player but he was also a wonderful man. He would always encourage team-mates when they did well and console them – and never criticise - when they did poorly.
“Steve has been greatly missed on the pitch and in our hearts. We hope that the tournament will be a suitable tribute to his memory.”
Eight clubs will be taking part in the 6-a-side tournament at Summerhill School, where Hartshill Strollers are based.
The club, which has 50 members and an active waiting list, was launched less than three years ago at the Dell Stadium, Pensnett, Dudley, with just four members.
But, since then, it has become one of the leading and most respected walking football clubs in the country.
In November 2016, the Over 60s team won the final of the Walking Football United National Tournament – the sport’s equivalent of the FA Cup – at Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
As well as the host club, the teams playing in the Steve Bragg Memorial Tournament will be: Birmingham WFC; Old Studs, of Walsall; Hindlip, Worcestershire; Coleshill, Warwickshire; Bedworth, also Warwickshire; Chesterton Crusaders, Stoke-on-Trent; and LPF88, from Leicestershire.
The tournament kicks off at 11.30 am. Spectators are welcome. Admission is free.