Memorial football match for player who died in accident at the age of 17
- Credit: Peter Steward
Players from throughout Norfolk and further afield came together for a special match to remember a young footballer who was killed in a road accident in 1999 at the age of 17.
Lee Thompson played for Hethersett Athletic and other Hethersett-based youth teams and died after being hit by a car while walking home to Mulbarton from Norwich after a night out.
A healthy crowd turned out at the home of Mulbarton Wanderers to see a team managed by Lee’s father Ray narrowly beat a team managed by former Hethersett Athletic coach Ian Harrison 2-1.
A collection of £550 was taken for the SOS Bus which provides a safe haven for pub and clubgoers and which was launched two years after Lee’s death.
Ray Thompson said it was an emotional day, but also a day of football and fun.
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“It’s wonderful to see all the old players coming back. It’s been a day for people to catch up with each other which has made it both sad and memorable,” he said.
Lee’s brother Ben, who is joint first team manager of Mulbarton Wanderers, and who also played a number of games for Hethersett Athletic, spoke of the loss of his brother which he still feels deeply.
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“It has been rather overwhelming to see so many people coming back for the match and bringing their families and helping to remember and celebrate Lee’s life," he said.
"As we get older, families continue to grow and it has been good to share memories of old times. I still think about Lee every day."
Lee’s name also lives on in an annual memorial shield organised by Hethersett Athletic and awarded to a person or persons that have made an outstanding contribution to the club over the previous year.
Lee was walking home when he was struck by a car on the B1113 Mulbarton Road on the outskirts of Norwich. The former Hethersett High School pupil died following the crash which took place in January 1999.
Organiser of the match and friend of Lee’s, Danny Gaskin thanked everyone “for helping us to remember our friend Lee.”