June 15, 2022 1.30 pm

Fundraiser for snooker-loving Lincoln man’s bucket list

Lincoln Snooker Club hosting a fundraiser for ‘Gibbo’

A 49-year-old local man with terminal cancer has said he wants to make the most of the time he has left and has been overwhelmed by the support he has received from friends, family, and Lincoln Snooker Club.

Mark Gibbons, known by friends and family as Gibbo, had a mini stroke at the start of March before spending almost three months in hospital and had to give up his job as a window cleaner.

During that time he was diagnosed with bowel cancer after two tumours were discovered. His bowel was removed before doctors then found shadows on his lung, leading to a diagnosis of stage four terminal cancer.

Mark enjoyed playing against professional player Mark Williams earlier this year, and he dressed and dyed his hair with a Welsh theme.

Mark was discharged from hospital on June 1 and his latest biopsy is being analysed in Birmingham so treatment has not yet started. He wants this to be as soon as possible to slow thing things down so he knows how much time he may have left.

Despite a very difficult start to the year, Mark is determined to stay positive and is looking forward to spending time with close friends at ‘The Gibbo Open’ on Saturday, June 18, which will be hosted by Lincoln Snooker Club and was organised by its owner Phil Cross.

The knockout tournament, and various competitions, will be held over 24 hours between 10.30am (event starts 9.30am) on Saturday until the same time on Sunday, June 19. Entry is £20 and all money raised will be added to the fundraiser for Gibbo’s bucket list, so he can make the most of his time with family and friends.

Anyone wanting to enter the tournament should contact Lincoln Snooker Club’s Facebook page or [email protected].

Donate to the fundraiser here

Mark has a big passion for snooker.

Mark, who has been a member of Lincoln Snooker Club for five years, told The Lincolnite: “I am staying strong for my family. I love my fishing, playing snooker and doing exhibitions against the pros, including dressing up and doing a walk on, and whilst I’m still able to I want to keep doing it.

“I had some really dark days in hospital and what Phil’s been doing with the fundraising page is overwhelming. I got emotional and upset with happiness with all the support I’ve had from everyone.

“Luckily enough I’ve managed to get out of hospital so have the chance to play in it (the fundraising competition). It’s not so much playing in it, but all the people turning out to support me, that means a lot and I want to thank them.

“When I was in hospital looking at the same four walls, the help from the club, and my family kept me going. Everybody who’s been to visit me, checked in on me, and contributed to the fundraiser thank you all so much, it helped me through the dark days.

“The biggest thing (on my bucket list) is to have one last family holiday to Weymouth with my two daughters (Caitlin, 22, and Roxy 13) and granddaughters (Renezme 3, and Lola, 2) because as a kid I used to go with my mum and dad and there’s a lovely beach there.

“While I’m able to, it would be nice to enjoy more time in the snooker club with my friends, and fishing trips together with friends, as many of us as possible. I’m also a massive Liverpool fan and would love to go to Anfield with Roxy.”

Mark with his granddaughters Lola and Renezme, and their father Leon Townsend.

Lincoln Snooker Club owner Phil Cross said: “Mark is a lad, he likes a laugh and a joke and a beer, being with his friends and family, and we’re all just shocked and devastated by his news.

“He’s a great to be around and a good snooker player. We call him the grinder, which was (former professional player) Cliff Thorburn’s nickname, we joke about his slow style, but he’s a great player.”

Lincoln Snooker Club owner Phil Cross (left) auctioned off one of Jimmy White’s (right) cues for £200 to go towards the fundraiser.

Gibbo loves his extended family at Lincoln Snooker Club, and enjoys playing against professional players, and ex-pros, too.

Mark has been playing snooker and competing in the Lincoln Snooker League since he was 18, including in the first division.

He added: “Phil has done a lot for Lincoln snooker and is a fantastic guy. The standard of the tables is absolutely immaculate, like professional, and he’s backed himself which is why he’s got a lot of teams to play down there.

“Getting pros to come down is amazing as well and the highlight for me was meeting Jimmy White. One of the highlights of my career was beating Matt Lee who is one of the best players in Lincoln.

“Playing against the pros feels amazing, to actually get to meet and greet them, as snooker is my passion, and I’ve been able to get my hand on the table to pot a few balls. I got a 20 break against Mark Williams and received a shield and box signed by him.”

Mark (left) dyed his hair green for his exhibition match against professional snooker player Ken Doherty (right).

Mark with his new hairstyle ahead of his exhibition match against former Snooker World Champion Stuart Bingham. It was done by Mark at Barber Black Sheep, who has cut his hair for over 10 years.

The following weekend will see Gibbo take on former World Champion Stuart Bingham in an exhibition match at Lincoln Snooker Club on Friday, June 24, which will raise more money for the fundraiser.

Mark said: “I am looking forward to playing him. He’s a former World Champion and to meet any pro is a big thing for me and I am in awe of them.

“Just to be in that moment and have a photo taken and to get autographs is amazing.”

Former World Champion Mark Williams (left) with Lincoln’s Mark Gibbons at Lincoln Snooker Club.

There will be prizes auctioned off and a raffle at the two events. Prizes include signed snooker balls from Steve Davis, Dennis Taylor, Stephen Hendry, Jimmy White, and Mark Williams, as well as two VI passes to be Ken Doherty’s guest at the UK Championships, and two tickets for the 2023 World Championships in Sheffield.

Castle Ward Working Men’s Club have also started a collection to raise money for Mark.