Tributes to gifted young footballer

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FAMILY and friends of a young footballer who died after an accident on the pitch have paid tribute to the teenager with “a massive heart”.

Huw Thatcher, 15, was playing for Hepworth United under-15s in a match against Brighouse Town Juniors at their ground in St Giles Road in Hove Edge on Sunday when he was injured.

A doctor on the sidelines administered CPR and Huw was rushed to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary but he died on Sunday night.

His family said: “Huw had a massive heart, was a big, strong, tall lad, was truly adored by hundreds of people and was a talented sportsman, especially footballer. He respected everyone who he played football against.

“He will leave a huge hole in the lives of so many and will be loved by all of them forever. Nobody disliked him. He was a rare gift. May his soul be at peace somewhere.”

Manager of Brighouse Town Juniors Nigel Meredith said Huw was hurt during a tackle.

“It was a 50/50 challenge, there were two lads going for the ball,” he said.

“Our player got there first but their player was coming in with a sliding tackle. Our lad had to jump out of the way to dodge the player sliding in and as he jumped over him he caught his head with his knee. The young lad was unconscious straight away.

“All my lads are in shock. We are supposed to be playing in the semi-finals this weekend but I think we’re going to have to call it off, not just as a matter of respect but because none of my lads are wanting to play any more.”

Ray McLaughlin, vice-chairman of Brighouse Town FC, said: “We want to express our deepest sympathies to Huw’s family and friends.”