Pool marathan in memory of Diss sportsman

Friends of popular Diss sportsman James Thacker are cueing up for a marathon 24 hour pool tournament in his memory.

Friends of popular Diss sportsman James Thacker are cueing up for a marathon 24 hour pool tournament in his memory.

Six hardy players will be taking part in the longest session of their lives from 10pm on June 12, at The White Horse Pub in South Lopham where James used to be captain of the pool team.

They are hoping to raise �1,000 for Meningitis UK as a tribute to the 25-year-old, who died from the deadly brain in January 2007.

The fundraiser has been organised by bar manager Ben Hopwood, 21, who says the talented amateur footballer would have given the event his seal of approval.

'James was always into his sport and football. I think he would be proud that we've set ourselves this challenge for such a good cause' he said.

'All six of us play in the pub's pool team but have never played for so long. Staying awake for 24 hours will be a mission in itself but we're going to do it in memory of James.'

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Mr Thacker had played a full 90 minutes for Garboldisham Football Club on the day he died, before heading home for a roast dinner. He complained of feeling ill during the night and died just three hours later.

The tell-tale rash only appeared in the ambulance on route to hospital during which his heart stopped twice. Doctors were unable to save his life as the dangerous meningococcal septicaemia form of the disease took hold.

Mr Hopwood added: 'His death was a huge shock. It's something you don't comprehend happening at all, especially because James was so fit and healthy.

'It's such a devastating disease which is why we want to raise as much money as we can for Meningitis UK. If a vaccine can be found then hopefully meningitis will one day be wiped out completely.'

He will be joined by Simon Willingham, Stacey Adams, Steve Holstead, Nick Henderson and Michelle Sheridan for the pool fundraiser, which will also include a barbeque.

Steve Dayman, who founded Meningitis UK after his son Spencer died from the disease, said: 'Every bit of help is so important in enabling us to continue our vital work and will take us one step closer to finding a vaccine. Our ultimate goal is to spare families the heartache James' family have suffered by losing a loved one to meningitis.'

To sponsor the players, call Ben Hopwood on 01379 687252. For more information on meningitis, call 0117 373 7373 or visit www.meningitisUK.org