FOOTBALL supporters paid emotional tributes to tragic Hartlepool teenager Rhys Hewitt who died after being hit by a car.
There were rounds of applause and the release of blue and white balloons inside Victoria Park before kick-off at Hartlepool United’s game against Luton Town.
Meanwhile, a fund launched to raise money for a lasting memorial to Rhys, whose dad is former Pools striker Marty Hewitt, has raised more than £1,100 in just a couple of days of its launch.
The popular English Martyrs pupil was remembered in numerous poignant ways during Saturday’s match.
The crowd broke into applause shortly before the start of the game and held another minute’s round in the 14th minute for the 14-year-old.
A number of younger fans displayed flags which read ‘RIP Rhys’.
Dozens of generous people affected by his loss logged on to a dedicated webpage started by town woman Sandra Pearce.
She said on the page: “Sadly on 16th October Rhys Hewitt was taken from his very loving family.
“Rhys was an amazing young man who had such a bright future ahead of him.
“We are trying to raise some money so that we can always have a permanent memorial for his family and many friends to visit and pay their respects.
“Please donate to this very worthy cause and also share this link with your friends. Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully donate.”
The fund raised over £1,000 in less than 24 hours.
Rhys’s devastated mum Jan posted a message on the site thanking people saying: “I cannot thank you all enough for your lovely messages and donations for my beautiful son rhys xx.”
Rhys was struck by a black Vauxhall Corsa while crossing the road outside the Stagecoach depot, in Brenda Road, Hartlepool, at around 7pm on Wednesday.
He was rushed to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, but did not recover from the serious injuries he sustained.
A tree near the spot where the collision happened been turned into a shrine in his memory by devastated pals with dozens of bunches of flowers and messages being left.
Cleveland Police are investigating and are appealing for anyone who may have seen Rhys or the Corsa just before the collision to contact them on the non-emergency number 101.
You can donate to the fund by going to the website at www.gofundme.com/fyk8sc