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West Ham fans to honour Romford rugby teenager who died suddenly

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 April 2019

Freddie Felton, 14, died suddenly, and was a member of Romford and Gidea Park RFC. Photo: Romford and Gidea Park RFC

Freddie Felton, 14, died suddenly, and was a member of Romford and Gidea Park RFC. Photo: Romford and Gidea Park RFC

Romford and Gidea Park RFC

Family and friends of a teenager who played rugby in Romford and tragically died in his sleep, have started a social media campaign to get West Ham fans to carry out a minute's applause at their next home match.

Freddie Felton, 14, who attended St Martin’s School, died suddenly on Tuesday, February 19, and in his memory thousands of fans are set to come together for the Hammers match against Leicester next weekend (Saturday, April 20).

St Martin’s School started the campaign and last Friday tweeted: “We are trying to get a minutes applause at the 14th minute of the West Ham Utd v LCFC match on Saturday 20th April. Please spread the word on social media using #clapforFreddie.”

Since then it has been shared hundreds of times,

West Ham United's Declan Rice. Photo: Paul Harding/PA Archive/PA ImagesWest Ham United's Declan Rice. Photo: Paul Harding/PA Archive/PA Images

West Ham star Declan Rice has been among those who shared the campaign on Twitter and said: “Make sure you join in on the minutes applause against Leicester! a massive @WestHamUtd supporter taken too soon! #RIPFREDDIE”

Freddie played rugby at Romford and Gidea Park Rugby Football Club for two years and his coach Lee Wheeler paid tribute to the teenager, and encouraged as many people as possible to take part in the tribute.

He said: “At this devastating time, our thoughts first and foremost are with Freddie’s family, as well as the huge number of school friends and team-mates who will miss him so greatly.

“The show of emotion and compassion has been very much appreciated by his parents, Dan and Louise, who have asked me to extend their gratitude to our many members and friends at surrounding rugby clubs who have shown such amazing support with their kind messages.

“Freddie joined our club having chosen to take off his goal-keeping gloves in favour of passing a rugby ball after playing at St Martins School.

“He could have been forgiven for changing his mind after sustaining a nasty ankle injury in his first ever training session, but as we soon realised, Freddie wouldn’t be held back.

England's Declan Rice has Tweeted support for the minute's applause in memory of Freddie Felton. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA ImagesEngland's Declan Rice has Tweeted support for the minute's applause in memory of Freddie Felton. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA Images

“His enthusiasm for rugby was an insight into his overall spirit and personality, he was instantly popular as well as extremely capable, yet his humility made him such a pleasure to know.

“Freddie was a genuine diamond, a great sportsman in the making with all the values that we hold dear in our sport.

“aken from us too soon, we have been cheated of the chance to see him fulfil his true potential, but he will remain in our hearts, in our thoughts and our team, forever. Shine on Freddie.”

West Ham's Declan Rice tweeted his support for the campaign. Photo: TwitterWest Ham's Declan Rice tweeted his support for the campaign. Photo: Twitter

“It is an amazing gesture and hopefully the whole stadium takes a moment to remember Freddie.

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