Erith charity football match celebrates life of murdered Bexleyheath grandmother Sally Hodkin
PUBLISHED: 17:30 13 May 2013 | UPDATED: 17:30 13 May 2013
Sally Hodkin didn't know Nicola Edgington when she set off for work from her Bexleyheath homes on the morning of October 10, 2011.
She had returned from a holiday in Wroxham, Norfolk, with her husband Paul two days before and altered her route to her job as an account manager to catch up on work she had missed.
That decision ultimately cost Sally her life, and irrevocably altered those of her family and closest friends.
Paul said before a charity football match in Sally’s name on Friday: “She always went by bus, but as it was the first day back from holiday she was walking to get the train.
“She should have been on the number 89 bus, not walking through Bexleyheath, and this is something that haunts me.”
Her family are trying to make some good come of her death at the hands of former mental patient Edgington, who stabbed her to death and was convicted of her murder in February this year before being sentenced to a minimum term of 37 years in jail.
This is the second annual memorial match they have staged, with the money raised being split between the Victim Support charity’s Witness Service, which helped the Hodkin family during the trial at the Old Bailey, and the Ménière’s Society, because she suffered from the disease, with left her unable to fly for the last 10 years of her life.
The proceeds will be doubled by Barclays thanks to a friend of Paul’s who works for the bank. The match was set up by Sally’s sons Len, 36, and Ian, 35 and some £9,000 has been raised from gate receipts and a raffle with prizes donated by clubs such as Manchester United and Liverpool.
Len said: “It started as a one-off but this is something we’re going to look to do every year. We must give huge thanks to Erith Sports Centre, who put on the event at two weeks’ notice after Welling Football Club had to pull out.
“Mum was a fantastic person and this is a good way to honour her. The Witness Service were fantastic to us during the trial, which was the most difficult thing I’ve been through.
“The support we’ve had is the measure of the kind of person she was.
“We’re an incredibly close family and we all live within a few miles of each other – dad lives in Bexleyheath, I live in Lee and my brother lives in Welling and we’ve supported each other.”
A charity football match seems a fitting tribute to Sally.
She never caught the football bug like Millwall fans Paul, Len and Ian, but the latter said: “Mum encouraged us to go and see Millwall play as much as possible. I think she enjoyed the peace and quiet to be able to potter about without us being under her feet.”
The family was reluctant to talk in depth about the events that led up to Sally’s murder, but Paul, 60, did say of Edgington’s jail term: “It’s a fair sentence. You can’t have people like that on the street.
“Forty years of marriage have been stolen from us. She was my best friend, and I’d known her since she was 14.
“Two of her grandkids will never have the privilege of knowing her and that’s heartbreaking.”
The match ended with a 5-4 victory for Sparrow’s Lane over the All Stars, captained by Ian and managed by Len, but the result hardly seemed to matter – the main reason for the event was to remember a much-loved wife, mother, grandmother and friend who had touched so many lives.
Ian added: “This is a great tribute to mum. She was a caring person without a bad bone in her body.