A charity cricket match played in memory of a soldier from Lavenham has seen a staggering £10,475 raised for Help for Heroes.
The special three-team event saw Lavenham Cricket Club take on a Help for Heroes team made up of players wounded serving in the British Armed Forces in tribute to Lance Corporal of Horse Jonathan ‘Jo’ Woodgate, who was killed aged 26 while on foot patrol in Afghanistan in 2010.
The trio was completed by a President’s XI - including former Ipswich Town footballers Alan Lee and Simon Milton - organised by club president and joint owner of Sumaridge Estate Wines Holly Bellingham.
John Perkins, secretary of Lavenham Cricket Club, said: “It was a really fun day and played in good spirits.
“The money raised exceeded our expectations but I think that is testament to the generosity of the local community and the support of all the local businesses.
“Jo’s death cemented the village’s determination to help his colleagues in all of the armed forces who have escaped with their lives, but who will battle with physical and mental injuries for years to come.”
Family and friends of Jo have organised a number of fundraising events for military charities and Thomas O’Callaghan, a close friend who captained the President’s XI, said the amount was a fitting tribute.
He added: “It was an incredible amount to raise for such a worthy cause. It was a great turnout and for a charity which is close to our hearts. I would like to thank everyone who supported the day.”
During a special cheque presentation in the Airmen’s Bar of the Swan Hotel, the cricket club was awarded a plaque created by Patrick Medhurst-Feeney, who played for the charity side during the match in June.
Barrie Griffiths, ambassador for Help for Heroes, said: “The money is of course absolutely fantastic and will make a real difference.
“But what stood out for us is the way we were treated by the people of Lavenham. It was great to see the whole village turn out and everyone was so generous.
“I think the fact that it was in memory of Jo made it more poignant and more special.
“The Help for Heroes cricket club is a great way to aid recovery but also to give injured servicemen social benefits by bringing them back into a group.”