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‘Legendary’ football match held to remember Raj – 10 years on

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A memorial match was played at Kingswood AFC on Saturday when the Kingswood first team faced a side of Kingswood ‘Legends’ on the 10th anniversary of the death of Kingswood player Mike ‘Raj’ Rodman.

“Tragically Mike collapsed only 10 minutes into a local derby against Charfield on January 26th, 2013,” recalls former teammate, Adam Eldridge, organiser of the Legends team. Mr Rodman was 37, a father of one, and worked at Renishaw in Woodchester.

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Mike ‘Raj’ Rodman.

“Despite the best efforts of those there and the ambulance crews who attended, sadly he was unable to be revived.”

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Mike Rodman with Kingswood teammates. Picture: Adam Eldridge.

The match raised money for the British Heart Foundation through sales of raffle tickets and donations. “The Village Inn and Poppy & Boo’s Pizza donated a percentage of their proceeds, we have raised in excess of £2,000 with donations still coming in,” said Adam.

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Kingswood Legends. Picture: Aimee Hewer.

Legends players ranged from 32 to 54 years of age, with Kingswood’s first team beating the veterans 4-2. The legends all wore commemorative shirts with Mike’s number six on the back, designed and produced by Zapkam, the sports kit manufacturer.

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Kingswood. Picture: Aimee Hewer.

“Match officials were Terry Deakin (referee) Dave Cook and Rich Wilshire. We just had to have Terry, he was the ref in charge during the game we lost Raj, and it was an absolute pleasure seeing him again,” said Adam.

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Referee Terry Deakin (right) also officiated at the tragic match 10 years ago. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

“Big thanks go to everybody that came down to the game and then back to the Village Inn to raise a glass to Raj and help to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation.

“Thank you to Ben Foxwell, Bailey Hewer, Aimee Hewer, Ben Vale for all their help organising things for the event and selling a huge amount of raffle tickets, The Village Inn and Poppy & Boo’s Pizzas for their donations. Zapkam, who helped with every step of the design of the kit and were brilliant throughout -and thank you to all the players for what turned out to be a very entertaining game of football.

“Also, a special mention to Dr David Owen. Not long after Mike’s death, a friend of his, Neil Cook, secured funding for the village’s first ever defibrillator that was placed at Kingswood’s ground. Since then, David and others via fundraising have gone on to raise enough funds for a total of nine defibs within the village – an amazing effort by all.”

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