x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

English fair in memory of Jack

Death of young ice hockey player prompts mother to raise funds.

ABU DHABI // A fund-raising event for budding sports stars will be held at Al Yasmina School in November.

The event, Festive Fayre, will be based on a traditional English Christmas fair and will benefit the Jack O'Donnell Foundation, which helps fund clubs and talented sports children in the UK.

Jack O'Donnell died at the age of 16 after a freak accident in a UK playground while his parents were based in Abu Dhabi. He was about to embark on a professional ice hockey career.

His mother, Amanda Parker, said she hoped hundreds would turn up at the school on November 18 to support the foundation. Among the attractions donated to the event will be popcorn machines, food and drink stalls, a bouncy castle, tombola stalls and a dunk tank.

Jack's brother and sister attend Al Yasmina School in Abu Dhabi.

"It will be a fun day out with lots of little Christmas things," said Mrs Parker, who is also the event organiser.

There will also be prizes, including a trip to Muscat and places at the Manchester United Academy.

Children and clubs based in the UK are eligible for foundation aid. Mrs Parker said the foundation's board, which she does not sit on, decides which club or player will benefit.

Jack's ice hockey club was one of the first to receive extra funds for new players' skates, sticks and nets.

Mrs Parker said: "If a gymnastic club needs a new mat that could cost £1,000 [Dh5,748] and they did not want to pass the cost down by increasing the club membership fees," the foundation could provide that.

The foundation's main goal is to give children the inspiration and support that Jack's parents gave him. Jack left school after his GCSEs in the summer of 2010. He was due to start his apprenticeship with the Swindon Wildcats senior team after the summer holidays

eharnan@thenational.ae