Pool fundraisers play through the night

IF practice makes perfect, then an eight-strong team of pool players from Suffolk should by rights be amongst the best.

Laurence Cawley

IF practice makes perfect, then an eight-strong team of pool players from Suffolk should by rights be amongst the best.

The group, aged from 15 to 68, decided to play pool constantly for 24 hours to raise as much money as possible for St Nicholas Hospice in Bury St Edmunds.

The team - Tom Burgess, Mick McNeal, Oliver Thorpe, Stuart Read, David McAeon, David Marriott and brothers Martyn and Alex McNeal - racked up about 200 frames between them during their marathon session at the British Sugar social club in Bury at the weekend.

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They were supported on their way by family and friends, who took part in a number of side events, such as tombolas and raffles, to raise money for the hospice and to pass the time.

During the 24-hour stint at the table, only one of the eight players took a nap. The rest of the players took to imbibing caffeine and sugar in their quest to stay awake.

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Each player had his own pot near the table and every time a player won a frame he put a poker chip in his pot. The player with the most chips in his pot at the end of the all day session was declared the winner.

Mr Burgess, 68, said: “It went really well. One of our chaps had a snooze, but we let him have his 40 winks because he's younger than the rest of us. The quality of the playing has been kept up and we've done quite well - I reckon we played between 180 and 200 frames of pool.”

Asked how the players kept awake, Mr Burgess said: “It's all been about teas, coffees, energy drinks, dextrose and anything else with sugar in it really. I think a couple of Red Bulls have been drunk.”

But after his pool playing marathon, there was no rest for Mr Burgess, who was being taken out for dinner by his wife and son-in-law.

“It has all gone really well,” he said. “Half of the tombola prizes have gone and those that remain will be given to St Nicholas Hospice for them to raffle off.”

The exact amount raised by the event will be known later this week.

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