Money raised from the event will go towards sending Matt Smith's family on holiday
A football tournament was held in memory of an Aldershot soldier killed in Afghanistan, raising money to treat his fiancée and children to a holiday.
Lance Corporal Matt Smith, 26, was shot while he helped build a checkpoint in Helmand Province on August 10 last year and died from blood loss.
The popular engineer was just minutes away from completing the work when he was hit by an insurgent sniper’s bullet. He said to have a fellow soldier not to climb on to the roof of the checkpoint, an inquest was told, saying: “If anything happens to you, your mother would kill me.”
He left his fiancée Laura West and four children Lainie, Ella, Tilly and Jai.
His friends organised the Matt Smith Memorial Day on September 8 at Tongham Community Centre, featuring a football tournament competed in by teams connected to Matt in some way.
There were also family activities such as a bouncy castle, live music and a party, and around £5,000 was raised to support Matt’s family.
The friends plan to set up bank accounts for each of the children and send them on a holiday of their choice. Disneyland Paris has been mentioned as a potential destination.
“There were an awful lot of people there – a lot more than what we thought,” said Nick Sowden, one of Matt’s friends who organised the event. “Everything went perfectly to plan so we were very happy.
“We visited the family on Monday to tell them what we are going to do. They were so pleased, very excited and thankful.
“Whatever destination they choose we will go ahead and book it.”
An auction was also held, selling donated prizes such as a boxing glove from David Haye, a darts board from James Wade and football tickets to games at Aldershot Town, Chelsea, Reading, Southampton and Matt’s team West Ham.
This was after a football tournament which was won by the Red Lion pub team who were presented with the Crouchie cup – so named because of Matt’s resemblance of England footballer Peter Crouch.
Nick said: “It was very fitting. Near enough everything about the day had to be related to Matt. A lot of the teams had retro West Ham shirts with Crouchie number four on the back.
“There's no better way than to celebrate with football and a barbecue and music because that was him all over. The standard of football was really good too.
“Everyone that was part of it was close to Matt. We’re so thankful to them all.”