Tyson prize packs a punch at Larne poker event

Martin Longmore with Mike Tyson's glove and Mark Allen's snooker cue. INLT 28-206-AM
Martin Longmore with Mike Tyson's glove and Mark Allen's snooker cue. INLT 28-206-AM

Mike Tyson’s glove and Mark Allen’s snooker cue are two of the prizes up for auction at a charity poker tournament in aid of The Cedar Foundation.

The tournament is the latest in a line of poker fundraisers organised by Larne man Martin Longmore, who benefitted from the charity’s services after a horrific car accident over a decade ago.

Martin told The Times: “In 2001 I crashed into a wall and was given 48 hours to live.

“The surgeons saved my life but I was left with head injuries and paralysed, the only thing I could move was my left leg.

“I had to relearn how to talk and walk.

“Without the Cedar Foundation I would still be stuck in a corner.

“They have given me the confidence to help myself and get back into the world.

“They helped us with physical activity and to develop learning skills, and working in a group with other people facing the same challenges was helpful.

“I still have brain injuries which cause speech and forgetfulness but these poker tournaments help me give something back to The Cedar Foundation for their support.

“They helped rehabilitate me and they are not a very well-known charity.”

The Cedar Foundation states that it “provides a range of services for people with disabilities to get the most out of life and to be fully included in their communities.”

Martin has named his fundraisers “The Strimmer Poker tournament” after his late son Martin Kennedy, who bore the affectionate nickname “Strimmer.”

The proceeds of the inaugural tournament, which raised £1,000, were donated to PIPS Larne in his memory.

The signed Tyson glove which will be auctioned off after the tournament was donated by a friend of Martin, while snooker supremo Mark Allen was happy to hand over a signed cue for the event.

Martin is urging local people to turn out in force to support the latest fundraiser.

“We will try to hold them regularly every few months to benefit charities, particularly local ones,” he said.

The poker tournament and auction will be held at Wellington Rec Football Club on Sunday July 19, starting at 2pm.

The auction will begin at around 4pm. Anyone who wishes to buy tickets can contact Martin Longmore on 07803494559, William Laverty on 07469969842 or Jonny McCloskey on 07444435212.

It is also possible to make an offer on the auction items over the phone.

A barbecue will be available, priced at £5 per person, as well as a ballot.