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Great design . . . Gore RSA player Ernie MacManus organised the blind pairs format for the Leonard Trent VC Memorial tournament on Saturday. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

A memorial snooker tournament is helping raise awareness surrounding the mental health of soldiers and their families.

The inaugural Leonard Trent VC Memorial RSA Blind Pairs Tournament, organised by the Tribute of New Zealand Heroes Association, was played at the Gore RSA on Saturday.

Association chairman Lester Putze said the group used Victoria Cross recipients and their families to raise awareness of mental health.

“It took a lot of courage to do what they did but we think it took just as much courage to live through it,” Putze said.

About 24 people took part in the tournament and he said it was one of the best tournaments he had been involved in.

“The best part was the people of Gore and the club itself was fantastic.

“It was absolutely brilliant and we cannot thank the management and staff enough.

“We are really looking forward to coming back to Gore.”

The blind pairs format, organised by RSA snooker committee member Ernie MacManus, was the first of its kind Putze had seen in 40 years of playing snooker.

“He [Ernie] was brilliant organising it.”

Gore RSA snooker section chairman Evan Fricker said it was a “raging success”.

“Ernie’s format resulted in almost all the players getting to play each other in a pairs format, which is a very tricky mathematical equation with 24 players of six tables, but he managed to come up with that and all the players were really thrilled with it because they got to play so many different people,” Fricker said.

The association held 19 tournaments throughout New Zealand each year and the Gore fixture would be an annual event.