Merthyr to remember clubmate Alex

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Members of MAN v FAT Merthyr’s community will come together on Saturday 2nd March to remember former clubmate Alex Meek (pictured centre, above).

Alex was a popular member of the MAN v FAT Merthyr club, but sadly passed away at the end of 2023.

His Merthyr teammates will take on the players and friends of Heolgerrig Red Lions CFC U14s, the club where Alex was a coach.

Ahead of the match on March 2nd, in aid of mental health charity Signposted Cymru, we caught up with Ffion Enoch, who is at the heart of organising the event in Alex’s memory.

1) How much of an impression did Alex make during his time with MAN v FAT?
Everyone says it, but Alex truly was one of a kind, a funny, gentle soul with a heart of gold and one hell of a right foot, and didn’t we all know it! Alex was easily the best player on the pitch at any given time, backed up by his experience playing for Wales and various local clubs including Heolgerrig, where he coached (though he sneakily kept this experience a secret from many at MAN v FAT).

Alex made a huge impression on the pitch, unknowingly trademarking his own name, as whenever he shot from the half way line there would be a collective “Meek!” cheered from the crowd.

Though perhaps more importantly, was the impact he made off the pitch. Alex shared his Friday nights with some of his best friends, often staying behind after the game to chat, have a pint or be a listening ear for anyone who needed it.

Alex would go out of his way to check in on people and to provide extra support where it was needed. He would often check in on his team-mates through the week which undoubtably helped many of our members through some very difficult times.

Though ever-modest, Alex never revealed how much he was helping each individual as trust, loyalty and integrity were some of Alex’s key values and we didn’t find out about many of these acts of kindness until after he had passed.

The impression Alex made on the club could never be defined by a few lines of text but it will be felt by those who were lucky enough to have known him and to have played by his side for the rest of our lives.

Here’s what some of the members of MAN v FAT had to say about Alex:-

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that my life was made better by having Alex in it. His kindness, support and character were completely unmatched and I will forever feel lucky to have spent years getting to know the incredible person that Alex Meek was. He was the type of person you could always count on and I can only hope to one day become a fraction of the man that he was. He’ll be forever missed.”- David Moore.

“Alex was one player everyone wanted on their team, without a doubt the best player to grace the Merthyr Man v Fat pitch. Alex was the only person to make me question whether a 50/50 challenge was worth it!” – Dylan Enoch.

“Alex was a natural leader from day one and you always felt safer on the pitch with him on your team. If you knew he was going to be there on a Friday it gave you that extra confidence. He made the Fit Fat Chunkys complete.” – Michael Littlewood.

“First time I played against Alex I was blown away at how talented he was, his range of passing and vision he was always 2 steps ahead of everyone. Off the pitch Alex was modest and one of the kindest people I’ve ever met with a wicked sense of humour. He was an incredible leader and team player, it was a privilege to be on the same team as him.” – Nathan Goodman.

“My back side suffered a good few stingers from his unbelievable shots! Absolute baller!”- Nick Evans.

“I was lucky enough to have played in 2 sides with Alex when I first rocked up to the Fit Fat Chunkys and the first time I ever played with Alex I was absolutely blown away by the boys football talent. He’s up there with one of the best footballers I’ve ever played with, if not the best.

“But not just the boy’s football capabilities the guy was an absolute gent off the field; My first couple weeks at Pork Vale was a very bad time for me with my mental health, having troubles at home and with my boys disabilities and I was in a proper dark place. Alex went out of his way on a multiple occasions to pull me aside ask how I was and also drop me a message to see how I was. To me that’s what a team mate is all about; will always have your back on the field but then also off it and go out of their way to support you.

“Meeky was a top lad and he has had a huge impact on me and my MVF journey, I proper miss seeing this boy on a Friday night.”- Josh Phillips.

2) How did the idea for the Cup come about and tell us more about Signposted as your chosen charity?Signposted Cymru was an organisation which was very close to Alex’s heart. After he passed, Alex’s father Paul and Sister Gemma knew that they wanted to do everything they could to support the charity.

Shortly after, Signposted launched the #Meek6 advent calendar challenge in which people were invited to walk every day of December until Boxing Day. Many of our members attended these walks which ranged from climbing Pen-y-Fan to somewhat gentler 5km-8km walks. These walks helped those of us who were grieving tremendously so there was no doubt in our minds that Signposted was the charity we needed to support and will continue to support in Alex’s name.

As he was an avid football fan and a fantastic player, a charity football match was the best way to honour his legacy. Organised by a couple of his closest friends and his family we hope to make this day a wonderful celebration of his life. Since we started discussing the idea, the event has snow-balled, with many of our players providing more ideas for fundraising and entertainment. The event has gone from a football match to so much more… with live entertainment, a mixologist, a raffle and an auction.

We have received some very generous prizes, including a weekend holiday in West Wales, a shirt signed by Rio Ferdinand, Peter Crouch, Joe Cole and Glenn Hoddle and a tour of the Principality Stadium.

3) How much are you hoping to raise on the day?
The sky is the limit! We hope for it to fall within the £5k region but we’re appreciative of the fact that there is an ongoing cost of living crisis. It all relies on the turn-out for the event but we hope to get support from the town of Merthyr and our neighbouring MAN v FAT clubs.

We’re grateful for any amount that people are able to give – whether it’s £5 or £50 – that money can and will save the lives of peoples family members, friends and neighbours.

4) Are there other events in the pipeline to remember Alex and his impact not only on MAN v FAT but the local community more widely?There is already an information hub running from The Redhouse in Merthyr Tydfil every Wednesday 6pm-8pm. This hub allows people from the community to drop in and speak to someone from SignPosted Cymru and can be used in various ways including: finding out more about the work of Signposted, a general chat or to access free and immediate support and counselling.

The hub has been running for a few weeks now and in that time 7 people have used it to access the free services, all of whom are now being seen by qualified counsellors on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

A walking group has also been launched which leaves The Redhouse at 6:30pm every Wednesday. This group has been tremendously successful so far and gives the community a chance to get out into nature, enjoy the fresh air and get some gentle exercise. We have also found that many people find it therapeutic to chat with friends and strangers about how they’re feeling and what current pressures they are facing.

Darren – the founder of Signposted – is also currently in Nepal to climb Lobuche Peak to scatter some of Alex’s ashes and to raise additional funds. He is organising many climbs over the coming months including Everest base camp and the Welsh Three Peaks.

We plan for the Alex Meek Memorial Cup to be an annual occasion to remember our friend and to raise some much needed funds for the incredible work of Signposted Cymru but there are plenty of plans for fundraising events in the works which we hope to announce soon!

We wish Ffion, Alex’s friends and family and all of MAN v FAT Merthyr all the best with this upcoming event as they remember a remarkable guy.


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