Seven big-hearted footballers are limbering up for a grieving 24-hours of non-stop 7-a-sides to honor three Dalbeattie Star legends.
The former Islecroft players will take on 26 different teams at three venues kicking off at 6pm next Friday and running right through to 6pm the following day.
The event – which will raise funds for Marie Curie and the British Heart Foundation – is being held as a tribute to club icons Frankie Styles, Jimmy Hannay and Gary Holden who all tragically passed away between October 2020 and March 2021.
Styles – known as Mr Dalbeattie Star – died in October, 2020 and had been involved with the club for 35 years, having helped with its reformation in 1975 and served as chairman, groundsman and kitman.
Holden was assistant manager when he passed away on Christmas Day, 2020, aged 51.
Hannay, who had played and coached with Star, died in March 2021 at the age of 43. He was a PE teacher at North West Community Campus in Dumfries.
Curtiss Wilson played for the club across two spells and has been instrumental in organizing the event.
He is one of the seven ready to pull the boots back on for the longest kick about his life.
And he said: “It’s hard to put into words the impact these three guys had, not only at Dalbeattie Star but across the local football community and beyond. They all made significant contributions to the on-field success of Dalbeattie Star over the years.
“But whilst those contributions won’t be forgotten, it was their personalities and the way they connected with people that means their legacy will live on for a long, long time.
“We’re a little more anxious now than we were when we came up with the idea a couple months ago. You obviously need a certain level of fitness but beyond that there’s not much you can do to prepare yourself or train for the event.
“We’re going to experience unprecedented levels of fatigue and we’ll just need to deal with that during the course of the challenge.”
Joining Curtiss in the Star side will be Ali Cathro, Darren Kerr, Ritchie Maxwell, Paul Cook, Grant Parker and Lewis Sloan all of whom had spells with the club.
One hour games against each of the challenging sides will kick off next Friday night at The North West Community Campus against a team formed from Hannay’s family and friends.
An old Dalbeattie Star team will then be followed by an ex-Annan Athletic side and a team formed of PE teachers from the region.
Overnight at Palmerston Arena the lads will take on two different sides from Dalbeattie Star Women’s team, as well as teams made up of former students from Maxwelltown High.
On the Saturday at Star’s home ground Islecroft Stadium, they will take on various teams made up from ex-Star players of all ages, as well as a Creetown side and a Threave Rovers team – two of Holden’s former clubs.
The final match will be against a recent Dalbeattie Star side which will feature Styles’ grandson.
Already well over £1000 of donations have been received and the Saturday will feature a family fun day including entertainment, refreshments, a bouncy castle and beat the goalie.
Curtiss said: “The support so far has been unbelievable. We were looking for 24 opposition teams to take part, which we thought could be difficult to achieve. In the end we’ve had to squeeze in 26 teams into our 24-hour schedule What we’re hoping for now is a big turnout – especially on the Saturday at Islecroft in Dalbeattie. pandemic when funeral attendance was limited so we see this as a great chance for people to come out and pay tribute to them.”
Donations can be made online at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/24-7s