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Thorne: “These events are mainly organised to help charities”

Last weekend, the Gibraltar Veterans crossed over the border to play a charity tournament – Leigh Thorne gave us an insight into what it was all about, “The tournament was arranged by La Balona Vets in order to help by raising funds for the Berlin Circus which collapsed during the high winds about a month ago. We all managed to collect as a team approximately 900 euros.”

The tournament saw Gibraltar come across Real Balompedica Linense, Algeciras & Malaga – Thorne reflected on how it went, “The tournament itself was well organised and we felt very hospitable. We [Gibraltar] lost our opening game to La Balona then drew 2-2 against Algeciras in the 3/4 place – Balona would go on to win the tournament, beating Malaga 4-1.”

Leigh Thorne is currently the Coordinator for the Gibraltar Veterans, we asked how he has found his time in charge – “I took this role nearly 6 years ago in and found it very challenging as there was not much in place other than the support from the Grassroots manager Mr Leslie Asquez who used to take an active role in all areas of Football and requested my assistance to take this forward. I initially introduced 3 annual events of 5 aside – the Poppy Day Match, the John Shephard Memorial Trophy and Cavalcade tournament which are events that had been lost for several years and have continued to do so since then. These events and most are mainly organised to help charities. The remainder of the calendar year is used to organise games with requests from Uk and Spain teams or even travel as on this occasion. The Grassroots and GFA have been very supportive in all events that I have coordinated during the past years but getting players is one of my most challenging. It’s not always easy to select players especially at Vets category as i want everyone to participate and enjoy but there is always some competitiveness, especially at tournaments. The local clubs such as St.Josephs, Lions Gibraltar, Lynx FC , Glacis Utd and Gibraltar Fire Rescue Service have been extremely supportive also when the 5-aside tournaments are organised.”

He also added, “At a personal level, it’s continues to be a very rewarding experience. We connect with the community by helping out as we can , keeping moderately fit and healthy in order to participate and socialising with old friends is always very welcoming by all.”

When asked what’s next for the Gibraltar Veterans, Thorne replied “We are looking at sub categorising the vets as we have different levels of fitness and capabilities to participate. We mainly target the 35 up to 50 age group but are looking at targeting the 45-55 age group and organise some events for them. Our next event will most likely be the annual Grassroots Day and hopefully we can have both age categories participating.”

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