Charity tournament for footballer who lost family

Dean, Gemma and baby Mia. Picture: comp

Dean, Gemma and baby Mia. Picture: comp

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A FIVE-a-side tournament is set to raise thousands of pounds for charity in memory of tragic footballer Dean Brett’s girlfriend and baby daughter, who died just seven months apart.

The Cowdenbeath defender’s partner Gemma Porteous, 22, was diagnosed with cancer of the spine shortly after the couple’s infant daughter Mollie passed away last September. The baby was born three months prematurely – and weighing just three pounds – with twin sister Mia on June 2, and died after struggling to gain weight and falling sick.

Heartbroken mum Gemma then passed away in January this year after a short battle with her illness.

Now friends of the family have rallied round to launch a fundraising drive in memory of Gemma and Mollie, with a five-a-side football competition in Edinburgh this July expected to raise more than £4000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Organised by Soccer4Charity, the event will see 20 teams come together to battle it out for four hours at World of Football on Newmarket Road – with each team of seven players expected to raise as much as £350 between them.

And Dean himself has promised to attend – warning rivals he could be fielding his own team on the day.

The 22-year-old said: “It’s a great idea, especially as it’s a football tournament – and it will be good for the Teenage Cancer Trust as well.

“I’ll be there and I have a team going with a few of my mates. I’ll be pre-season at Cowdenbeath so I will need to ask them if I can play myself, but I’ll be able to play a small part, I’m sure. Surely playing a wee part wouldn’t do any harm? I won’t be doing anything daft.”

The footballer, who is originally from Edinburgh but lives in Tranent, East Lothian, said he would “always remember” Gemma and Mollie, but was now focusing his attention on rebuilding his life with surviving nine-month-old baby Mia.

He said: “There’s nothing I can do now and I just get on with it quite well. You always remember, but you just need to get on with it or it’s not good for you. I’ve got all my family and Gemma’s family and they’ve been brilliant.

“It’s brilliant being a dad – I love it. It’s great just to have somebody to call me dad. My daughter’s great – she’s no bother. She hardly cries.”

Dean Philp, who set up Soccer4Charity a year ago, promised the tournament would be a “great occasion”. The 35-year-old said: “I think we’ve only got three places to go. We will be working on maybe getting some old Hearts and Hibs legends involved as well.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com