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Ali Quealy Memorial Open squash tournament

By Geoffrey Bew

A squash tournament held in memory of a young man who took his own life has raised more than £10,000 for charity.

Sixty-four players from Kent and beyond, including adults and juniors, came together to compete in the Ali Quealy Memorial Open.

It was organised by friends of the 23-year-old following his shock death earlier this year when he was found hanged in his flat in Wincheap.

Alex Quealy. Picture: JustGiving.com
Alex Quealy. Picture: JustGiving.com

An inquest earlier heard Ali, an estate agent who worked in Ashford, had been on a night out with friends in Canterbury a couple of hours before his death and was said to have been in good spirits.

The tournament, at Rodmersham Squash Club, aimed to celebrate his life and raise money for the Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), which says suicide is the biggest killer of men in the UK aged under 45.

Ali’s brothers Finn and Conor and his uncle Emmet Quealy were among those playing.

A doubles tournament was also staged and a social event took place afterwards with entertainment from DJ Paul Everett.

Squash player Sam Henley, who came up with the idea with his brother Ed, said it was a fitting way to celebrate Ali's life: “It was very well attended.

"There was probably 200 people there, maybe more, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

"We'd like to make it an annual event.

"We raised £6,602 from sponsorship and by selling 1,000 raffle tickets.

Luan Woods, nine, playing in an Grade E match
Luan Woods, nine, playing in an Grade E match

"Ali's aunt Naomi Annetts also organised an auction for a week's stay at a chalet in Tignes that went for £4,000.

"It shows how well thought of Ali was and the support for his family.

"We'd like to thank everyone who helped make it happen."

The winners included:

A GRADE: Winner Sam Henley (Rodmersham), runner-up Joe Magor (Canterbury), Plate winner Chris Gorman (Poult Wood), runner-up Mark Crichton (Poult Wood)

B GRADE: Winner Harry Gildersleve (Spencer), runner-up Matt Hazzard (Spencer), Plate winner Chris Mead (Cobdown), runner-up Chris Salter (Rodmersham)

C GRADE: Winner Steve Fisher (Rodmersham), runner-up Ryan Briggs (Cobdown), Plate winner Henry Kitney (Rodmersham), runner-up Dan McIntyre (Thanet)

D GRADE: Winner Luke Rouse (Canterbury), runner-up Matt Low (Rodmersham), Plate winner Colin Seymour (Rodmersham), runner-up Matt Beattie (Canterbury)

E GRADE: Winner Tom Jepson (Canterbury), runner-up Lois Woods (Rodmersham), Plate winner Faisal Al Wazan (Canterbury), runner-up Loay Al Harthy (Canterbury)

DOUBLES: Winners Mark Hobday and Paul Deboos (both Rodmersham)

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