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Families turn out for Finnbar’s Force community sports day

PUBLISHED: 15:48 08 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:09 08 September 2018

(L-R) Isabelle Sayer, 5, Maddison Boone, 5, and William Boone, 3 at the event in Hethersett. Picture: Kim Briscoe

(L-R) Isabelle Sayer, 5, Maddison Boone, 5, and William Boone, 3 at the event in Hethersett. Picture: Kim Briscoe

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Villagers have turned out in force for a community sports day to raise money for the fight against childhood brain tumours.

Firefighter Mark Matless who completed a duathlon in full firefighting gear as part of the sports day, with his daughter Sienna, 5. Picture: Kim BriscoeFirefighter Mark Matless who completed a duathlon in full firefighting gear as part of the sports day, with his daughter Sienna, 5. Picture: Kim Briscoe

Hethersett Memorial Playing Field became a hive of activity today for the fun event organised by Finnbar’s Force.

A host of sports and activities were on offer for children and adults to try, including rugby, a climbing wall, bowls, mini-athletics, football, cycle races on the field’s cycle speedway, power hoop and yoga.

Meanwhile a cake stall, barbecue, bar and coffee van provided much-need refreshment for spectators.

For more serious sportsmen and women there was a duathlon consisting of a 2.5k run, followed by a 10k cycle and then another 2.5k run.

Girls vs boys tug of war at the Finnbar's Force community sports day. Picture: Kim BriscoeGirls vs boys tug of war at the Finnbar's Force community sports day. Picture: Kim Briscoe

But even that challenge was not enough for some. Father-of-two Mark Matless completed the course in an hour while wearing full firefighter’s kit weighing in at around 25kg.

The 33-year-old lives in Hethersett and works as a full-time firefighter at Norwich Airport, as well as being a member of the Hethersett retained crew in his spare time, and was aiming to reach a sponsorship total of £1,000.

He said: “I’m not surprised, but I am reassured by the community support I have had. It’s something that we moved to the area for four years ago and I wholeheartedly appreciate every donation, no matter how small.

“I’ve been to Finnbar’s Force events before and have seen how hard they work. I didn’t realise the facts and figures of paediatric brain tumours and how common it is, and I wanted to raise some money for them.

Jasmine Loome tries her hand at the hook-a-duck at the Finnbar's Force community sports day. Picture: Kim BriscoeJasmine Loome tries her hand at the hook-a-duck at the Finnbar's Force community sports day. Picture: Kim Briscoe

“It was really hard-going, particularly on my legs and lungs at the end, but I’m glad I did it.”

Finnbar’s Force was set up in 2017 in memory of Finnbar Cork, who had an aggressive brain tumour and died in August 2016 at the age of five.

His parents Tristan and Claire said they want to organise events which give back to the community which had supported them through a very difficult time, as well as raising money for research into childhood brain tumours and for supporting children who are diagnosed with brain tumours and their families.

Mr Cork, who thanked everyone who had volunteered and supported the event, said: “The community here have been so good to us, it’s nice to put something back on for them.”

Adults take part in a sack race at the Finnbar's Force community sports day. Picture: Kim BriscoeAdults take part in a sack race at the Finnbar's Force community sports day. Picture: Kim Briscoe

He said around 70 people had signed up for the duathlon and added: “Lots of people have liked the route and we had plenty of people trying it for the first time, who either seemed to love it or hate it.

“Mark did really well and it was an awesome effort. He looked exhausted at the end.

“It’s gone well. It’s a bit of a shame the weather’s not very nice or I think we would have had more people.

“We have good a number though, and lots of people taking part in the activities and having fun.”

Mark Matless in his firefighting kit. PHOTO: Liz FusseyMark Matless in his firefighting kit. PHOTO: Liz Fussey

To sponsor Mr Matless, visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/ffmatless

Jayne Fellows tries out the power hoops at the event. Picture: Kim BriscoeJayne Fellows tries out the power hoops at the event. Picture: Kim Briscoe

The boys' team in the tug of war at the sports day. Picture: Kim BriscoeThe boys' team in the tug of war at the sports day. Picture: Kim Briscoe

Hethersett retained firefighters Stuart Woodrow (left) and Grant Byes were among those attending to support the community day. Picture: Kim BriscoeHethersett retained firefighters Stuart Woodrow (left) and Grant Byes were among those attending to support the community day. Picture: Kim Briscoe

Hethersett's Rowan House Centre, a health and wellbeing centre, supported the sports day. Pictured are (L-R) Sharon Clark, Yamuna facial therapist; Becca Jermy, personal trainer; and Julie Burrows, yoga instructor. Picture: Kim BriscoeHethersett's Rowan House Centre, a health and wellbeing centre, supported the sports day. Pictured are (L-R) Sharon Clark, Yamuna facial therapist; Becca Jermy, personal trainer; and Julie Burrows, yoga instructor. Picture: Kim Briscoe

Jess and Matthew Pearson with their daughters Maggie, 4, and Pippa, 6, at the community sports day organised by Finnbar's Force. Picture: Kim BriscoeJess and Matthew Pearson with their daughters Maggie, 4, and Pippa, 6, at the community sports day organised by Finnbar's Force. Picture: Kim Briscoe

Firefighter Mark Matless, who completed a duathlon in full firefighting gear as part of the sports day. Picture: Mark MatlessFirefighter Mark Matless, who completed a duathlon in full firefighting gear as part of the sports day. Picture: Mark Matless

Children's sack race at the event at Hethersett Memorial Playing Field. Picture: Kim BriscoeChildren's sack race at the event at Hethersett Memorial Playing Field. Picture: Kim Briscoe

Jayne Fellows tries out the power hoops at the sports day. Picture: Kim BriscoeJayne Fellows tries out the power hoops at the sports day. Picture: Kim Briscoe

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