Kenilworth football coach to be remembered in charity match

Dr Robert 'Bob' Tummey took his own life in August
Dr Robert 'Bob' Tummey took his own life in August

The memory of a former football coach from Kenilworth will be honoured in a charity football match organised by his grieving family and friends this weekend.

Dr Robert ‘Bob’ Tummey, who coached junior teams at Kenilworth Wardens FC and worked in mental health, took his own life on Sunday August 12 aged just 50.

His wife Fran (pictured) has said the support from the Kenilworth community has blown the family away

His wife Fran (pictured) has said the support from the Kenilworth community has blown the family away

But his son Rhys, 23, along with Bob’s friend Rob Peel, have organised a football match at Wardens on Sunday October 14 to celebrate his life and to raise money for Coventry and Warwickshire Mind, a mental health charity.

Rhys could not believe how much the event had blown up in such a short space of time.

He said: “Rob and I caught up with a few people at my dad’s wake. We wanted to bring everyone together and set up a football match. It all went from there.

“There’s potentially 200 or 300 people coming now. It’s really blown up. It’s so good because people will be coming to support and respect my dad.”

Bob, father to Hannah, 25, as well as Rhys, and husband to Fran, 51, was a well-respected figure in mental health.

He was course director for mental health services at Coventry University, and had recently earned a PhD.

Fran said Bob’s death came completely out of the blue.

Immediately afterwards, Fran and Hannah decided to travel out to Thailand to tell Rhys, who was on holiday there at the time, face-to face.

She said: “It was absolutely devastating. And because it was so unexpected, I had to make the decision on how I was going to tell Rhys.

“We got on the plane that afternoon and found him in Phuket. It was the right thing to do.”

Despite the tragedy, Fran praised the support to the family that Kenilworth has shown.

She added: “One positive thing that’s come out of this is just how the community has come together to support us. It’s just blown us away.”

The event on Sunday starts 12.30pm, with the match kicking off at 2pm. Many of Bob’s former players who he coached will be playing. A minute’s silence will also be held just before kick-off for quiet reflection.

Once the match is finished, several prizes donated by Kenilworth businesses and even Coventry City and Birmingham City will be auctioned off, with all money going to Mind.

And Alex Cotton MBE, who founded a campaign for men to open up about their mental health called ‘It Takes Balls to Talk’, will be giving a talk on the day.

Rhys will also be taking on the Great South Run on Sunday October 21 - a run that Bob was in training for - with all money raised also going to Mind.

Anyone wishing to donate to Mind should visit Rhys’s Just Giving page