Teams take to the pitch in memory of tragic tot Jacob Jenkins

Action from the Jacob Jenkins Cup at English Martyrs School, Hartlepool, on Saturday. Catholic Club (yellow) v Jacksons Arms (orange).
Action from the Jacob Jenkins Cup at English Martyrs School, Hartlepool, on Saturday. Catholic Club (yellow) v Jacksons Arms (orange).

The memory of a Hartlepool toddler whose tragic death broke the hearts of a nation is being kept alive with a football tournament in his name.

People across the world prayed for two-year-old Jacob Jenkins as he battled for life after choking on a grape at the town’s Pizza Hut.

Jacob Jenkins.

Jacob Jenkins.

However, his parents Abigail Wilson and David Jenkins were left no option but to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life-support five days later, in October 2015.

His death devastated the community and more than £21,000 was raised to support his heartbroken parents.

On Saturday, more than £400 was raised as four teams took to the pitch in his memory as they battled it out for the Jacob Jenkins Cup at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College.

The tournament between four over-40s teams was organised by 44-year-old Mick Eglintine, who plays for Hartlepool Catholic Club.

Action from the Jacob Jenkins Cup at English Martyrs School, Hartlepool, on Saturday, Hartlepool Vets (red) v Stag & Monkey (dk blue).

Action from the Jacob Jenkins Cup at English Martyrs School, Hartlepool, on Saturday, Hartlepool Vets (red) v Stag & Monkey (dk blue).

The competition saw the Catholic Club beat Jackson’s Arms 1-0 to earn a place in the final.

Meanwhile, Hartlepool Vets took on the Stag and Monkey in a nail-biting 2-2 draw, followed by a penalty shoot out which ended in victory for the Vets.

The cup was lifted by a victorious Catholic Club side after beating the Vets 2-0.

A balloon release in Jacob’s honour followed.

Dad-of-two Mick, who scored a goal in the final, said the idea to hold the first annual Jacob Jenkins Cup last year came as a result of the tot’s love of the game.

The carpet fitter said: “It’s important to keep it going and to raise awareness.

“It’s a hard subject to talk about, but if it stops another family going through what Jacob’s parents went through it’s worth it.

“The atmosphere was great.

“The weather wasn’t great, but everyone was in good spirits and we went along to the Catholic Club for food after.

“There were quite a few people there watching and all the kids’ football teams turned up.”

Last year the event raised more than £1,000 and this year Mick plans to use whatever money is raised to buy a gift for Jacob’s parents, who got married on the day of the tournament.

Mick contacted Abigail and David, whose baby girl was born earlier this year, to ask permission to hold the event.