Hockey reunion raises over £800 for meningitis charity

UEA Hockey club hosted an alumni match at the weekend to mark the anniversary of a former teammate’s death, raising more than £800 for a meningitis charity.

Mike Covell, a first-year student who played on the team, passed away in December 1997 after contracting meningococcal septicemia.

Two decades on, the current team continue with fundraising efforts for the charity Meningitis Now, formerly the Meningitis Trust.

Meningitis is the inflammation of membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and in some cases can lead to blood poisoning.

Mike passed away at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at the end of his first term studying at the UEA Law School.

UEA Men’s Hockey President Alex Sharpe said the charity was very close to the team’s hearts.

Teammates of Mike and alumni of the club were invited back to Norwich for two testimonial matches in his honour on Sunday. Former players were also invited to fundraise on Saturday night in the union bars and share their stories of playing for the club.

Johnny Downer, a former teammate of Mike, said: “Mike was the life and soul of the party, quick witted, and clearly intelligent.

“He would have had a great life ahead of him.”

A total of £840 was raised over the weekend, taking the total raised by this year’s team to more than £2,700.

This philanthropic spirit led to UEA Hockey’s win of the annual prize for best fundraising sport club at the UEA Sports Awards earlier in the term.

Reunion matches begun in 2001, and have since raised more than £25,000 to help raise awareness of Meningitis. This year, UEA’s current club won the match.

Campaigning by Meningitis Now led to an introduction of free provision of the ACWY vaccine to sixth formers and first year university students, in 2015.

Donations to the team’s cause can be made through the club’s Just Giving page.


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April 2021
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