Memorial Christmas match in memory of Riada player

Christopher Hendrie with his children
Christopher Hendrie with his children

Although he was just 30 years of age when he sadly passed away at the end of last month, Christopher Hendrie was a young man who touched and affected many lives.

An avid football fan, Chrissy played for his local team Riada FC and just like his close family, the team and their Manager Mervyn ‘Tubes’ McIntyre were deeply affected by the loss of this special young man.

This week it was announced that a special match would take place in memory of Christopher with all proceeds going to his wife Gillian to help make Christmas a special time for their two children. Mervyn McIntyre explained: “We are organising a match and then a Disco plus auction after Christmas as well. The match is on 26th November and it will be Riada FC past and present. Christopher played for me and was there all his days. We were very close, I knew him from he was 16 or 17 years of age. He was always one of those boys you always wanted on your team, he was an all round good fellow.

“Although he had been unwell before Christopher was only diagnosed with cancer nine weeks before hand. We were told three weeks before he passed away to go and see him and we got a group of the team together and went to the hospital. That Friday we were told things weren’t looking good so it was very emotional for the nine of us. We didn’t chat about his illness, we just talked like we always did in the past and had a bit of banter. There were some left in tears as we left, however, the family said the visit seemed to help him and we got to visit him the following Friday again.

“The following Friday a couple joined us and we went in and took over. I think it made Chrissy feel like he was one of the team again and he was really enjoying it although you could see he was deteriorating. Sadly, Chrissy passed away and we didn’t get back to see him again.”

After his first visit to see Chrissy in hospital Mervyn decided that the club should do something to help this young family.

That first day I had the thought that we should help Chrissy’s wife Gillian, the two children and the little one on the way so I said to the boys and we formed a group on facebook - Riada Fc Reunion. We decided to get as many of the former players together as possible and see if we could do a charity match and anything we can make can go towards doing Santa for the children.

“Everyone is behind us 110% and already for the auction after Christmas we have some great items with almost every business in Ballymoney contributing. Gary Dunlop has put one of his Dad’s replica signed helmets on ebay and £1000 was bid on it straight away. We also have a signed Chelsea shirt on too and if anyone wants to bid or contribute they can get in touch with me via facebook or by phoning 07720239697.

“The match is on Wednesday, 26th November at the Joey Dunlop Centre with a 7.30pm kick-off, then after Christmas we will be running the Disco and auction event. We want as many people to come along and support this match. It will be an extremely emotional event for everyone involved. It has brought together players who have lost touch with each other over the years and will be a special occasion for us all and we plan to make this an annual event.

“Christopher Hendrie was a great lad who we all thought the world off, we hope everyone turns out to help us give our support to Gillian and the kids.”