Football tournament revived for charity

(left to right): Paul Thirkell (GDF Suez); Andrew Farley (Lotte Chemical); Adam Thomson (Sembcorp Utilities UK) Ben Hughes (Ensus) and David Onions (SABIC UK Petrochemicals)

(left to right): Paul Thirkell (GDF Suez); Andrew Farley (Lotte Chemical); Adam Thomson (Sembcorp Utilities UK) Ben Hughes (Ensus) and David Onions (SABIC UK Petrochemicals)

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

MAJOR companies at the Wilton International site are to clash in a revival of an historic sporting contest.

For the first time in more than a decade, workers will compete for the Wilton Cup raising more than £600 for the Finlay Cooper Fund, set up by former Middlesbrough player Colin Cooper to benefit local children’s causes.

The contest, at the Herlingshaw Sports Centre, in Eston, on Friday (December 14) is a footballing throwback to a different era when ICI plants and businesses on the site would compete for the celebrated Fleck Trophy, named after the industrial chemist Alexander Fleck, one of the founder fathers of the Billingham and Wilton sites.

Today the main companies on the site – Sembcorp Utilities UK, SABIC UK Petrochemicals, Lotte Chemical, GDF Suez, Ensus and Huntsman Polyurethanes – belong to international parent companies including Saudi, Korean, American and French firms, making the tournament more like a mini ‘World Cup.’

Andy McNeil-Ritchie, of Sembcorp, one of the organisers of the event, said: “The Wilton Cup has been in abeyance for far too long. There was always great rivalry between the various parts of ICI that contested it and I’m sure that will be the case now we are separate entities.”

Unfortunately the original Fleck Trophy – a magnificent piece of silverware specially created for ICI - has gone missing since it was last fought for at the turn of the millennium, but organisers are hoping that by publicising the event someone locally might know where it is.

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