Remembering and honoring a former student through sports

TODIf you could ask Tom what he would have been remembered for at St. John’s, it would not be his academic achievements, nor would it be his soccer ability. He would have probably told you he would not be remembered at all.

He is remembered by those who knew him for his smile or rolling on the floor laughing when he actually scored a goal on the St. John’s soccer pitch. Teachers remember him as one who liked to make people laugh – not always a good thing as far as they were concerned!

Tom became ill in March 1997, at 17 years old , with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His ability to use laughter was remarkable during his illness and the pain.

The first Tom O’Donnell Cup was organised by his friends from both St. John’s and the IMG_3272British School of Brussels and took place at St. John’s in March 1998. Teams came from across Europe, many had at least one member who knew Tom, but some did not. Although the soccer is the main point of the cup, it’s became more about having fun and enjoying seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

The proceeds of the first event went to the European Bone Marrow Nurses Group. In subsequent years the proceeds went to The Teenage Cancer Trust ( and a few years later also to Jour après Jour here in Belgium. The tournament has raised over 100, 000 euros in the name of sport and having fun through sport.

St. John’s will celebrate its 50 years of giving by supporting a reincarnation of original larger International Tom O’Donnell Tournament this year. Please join in this year on March 20-21 and have fun! Get together to be a team,, or sponsor some of the things we need, offer gifts for auction and raffle, volunteer to assist on the very long day!

To get involved, please contact Angie Slann at