Special memorial match at Peterborough United to raise funds for family of boy, 15, who died during match
A special match in memory of a teenage footballer who suffered a heart-attack during a match will be played at Peterborough United.
Benjamin Walker, 15, fell on the pitch in front of horrified teammates and onlookers as his side Thrapston Town Juniors FC were playing on Friday April 28.
The sports-mad teen, who was also an avid cricketer, was rushed to hospital but sadly passed away later that day.
Now, a special game between Peterborough United under 15s and Thrapston under 15s will take place at the ABAX Stadium on Monday May 22 at 6.30pm.
The sports-mad teenager spent time watching Posh and a spokesman for the club said it was keen to do something to support the family at this difficult time.
All money donated at the game will go directly to the family and the club will donate a signed shirt to be auctioned at a later date.
Posh Youth Development Lead Phase Coach and under 15s manager Sam Darlow said: “When we heard the news of Benjamin’s tragic death, we wanted to do something as a football club to try and help the family and friends at this difficult time.
“Since finding out the news we have been in contact with Thrapston and have arranged this game between Thrapston Under 15s and ourselves as an academy at the ABAX Stadium. We are really hopeful the football community can come along and show a united front to support the family at this time.”
The football club are urging as many supporters to come along and watch the game and give generously to help the family as they come to terms with their unexpected loss.
Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony said: “I think it is very important at this time that we try and support the family and the club at this difficult time. Benjamin was doing something that he loved. We have worked closely with Thrapston Football Club to get this game arranged and I urge as many people as possible to come along and show their support for Benjamin’s family and friends.”
All entry to the game will be via a donation on the night (into collection buckets).
A statement from Thrapston Town FC’s following the tragic incident said: “It is with great sadness we learnt that young Ben Walker passed away Friday night whilst doing the thing he loved, playing football for the U15s in a league game.
“It is with a heavy heart we send our condolences to Nicola, Andy and Sam on the very very sad news. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.
“Also we send our condolences to Rusty, Ben’s team mates and all at Thrapston Town Juniors Football Club.”
Family friend Aaron Clipston tweeted: “On the 28th of April Benjamin Walker had a cardiac arrest whilst playing the game he loved and sadly lost his life.
“He was a long loyal fan of Aston Vlla, where he loved watching his team play on a beautiful stage at Villa Park!
“He was a real gentleman and a pleasure to be around.
“He had such a bright future ahead of him and was also looking forward to becoming a season ticket holder watching his team play next year.”
Thrapston Cricket Club, where Ben was a wicket keeper and batsman, said in a statement: “During a Thrapston Town FC U15 game at Chancery Lane on Friday 28th April, one of the Thrapston players, Ben Walker collapsed.
“He was taken to hospital where he sadly passed away.
“As well as a talented footballer, he also represented Thrapston Cricket Club as a promising wicket keeper & batsman.
“Thoughts of everyone linked to Thrapston Town football & cricket club are with the Walker family at this sad time.
“All of the home cricket fixtures due to be played this weekend were postponed and a minutes silence was held at all Weetabix Youth League games as a mark of respect.
“Flowers and football shirts have been left in memory of Ben in the club grounds, which remain open for anyone to visit & pay their respects.”
Andrew Thomas, who coaches the cricket club, said: “Ben was a proper sportsman. He was a truly amazing boy, always smiling.
“He loved sports all his life. I know he played cricket and football, but there could easily have been other sports that he played.
“You could see his commitment and love of the game in training. Every now and then he would play for the senior side, which is a sign of his talent.
“Cricket and football were his main sports, and he seemed to be equally adept at both of them - in the mould of a young Phil or Gary Neville.
“His popularity can be seen just from the scale of the tributes at the cricket and football grounds.
“He will be sorely missed by a lot of people.”