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Trailblazing Manchester squash event to raise funds and awareness

The second running of the Northern Joe Cup at Fairways Lodge and Cheetham Hill squash clubs in North Manchester, takes place From the 29th July to the 2nd of August

The Northern Joe Cup is a festival of squash designed to both showcase the amazing sport that is squash as well as raising awareness of brain tumours and funds for The Brain Tumour Charity.

The 2021 event raised over £10,000 for the charity and saw over 200 people playing squash in professional, graded and team events over the five days including 60 children from local schools in attendance on the first day to watch and get a taster of the sport. The tournament concluded on the Sunday, Finals Day, with two hotly contested and well supported matches for the professional players.

This year’s event will include a Professional Squash Association (PSA) Challenger Tour 5K Men’s and Women’s event with almost 50 professional players with many of the world’s top 100 competing. In addition, there will be an amateur team tournament, an individual amateur graded event along with junior squash camps and evening squash coaching clinics.

The Joe in question is Joe Rawcliffe who died at the age of 26 in January 2020 from an aggressive brain tumour.

Richard Rawcliffe, Joe’s father and the organiser of the tournament, explained his motivation for creating a charity fundraising event around a squash tournament:

We decided to do a squash competition last year for a couple of reasons. Squash has been a huge part of Joe’s brother Isaac’s life and it is very much a family. When we were struggling towards the end with Joe it was very much the squash family, and in particular his coach, who stepped up and helped Isaac.

So this is partly about giving back to the squash family for the help that they gave us, sponsoring an event for young players, but also about raising money, and most importantly awareness, around brain tumours.

Last year’s event was so successful we decided we would do it again and try and make it an even bigger event with greater participation and make a lot more noise around raising awareness of brain tumours.

Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40. In the UK with over 12,000 people diagnosed each year with a primary brain tumour, including 500 children and young people, that’s 33 people every day. Over 5,300 people lose their lives to a brain tumour each year.

Our son Joe was an amazing, funny, gifted, compassionate, loving and faithful individual much loved by his friends and family and taken way too soon. We want to do as much as we can to help raise awareness and help other families like ours who have gone through and are going through what we have been through get a better outcome.

The combination of sport and charity at a local level like this is not something I have seen very much of and we have been very lucky to have pulled together a great team to deliver the events with one of the main driving forces being our tournament director Josh Taylor.

Josh Taylor commented:

The Northern Joe Cup is an amazing event that manages to bring squash and charity together. It’s a unique model in a lot of ways. The squash community is a hugely supportive one and the festival of activities across the NJC generate an unrivalled atmosphere.

The Northern Joe’s fund: https://www.thebraintumourcharity.org/get-involved/our-supporter-groups/supporter-groups/groups/northern-joes-fund/

Evie Wragg, Community Fundraiser for The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “We remain hugely grateful for the continued support from Richard and the Northern Joe Cup, everyone involved in Joe’s name are a huge inspiration to all our community and we wish everyone luck for the upcoming tournament.