SCHOOL footballers paid their respects to “great young man” Rhys Hewitt during a town-wide competition.
Young players from English Martyrs School wore T-shirts in memory of Rhys, who tragically died after being hit by a car in the town’s Brenda Road, Hartlepool, on October 15 last year.
And as they went on to win the Hartlepool Town Cup Final Under 15s Year 10 Competition, one of Rhys’ friends was given the Man of the Match Award that has been named in memory of the tragic teen.
Hartlepool schoolboy Patrick Mulvey, 15, is the first person to receive the memorial shield in memory of Rhys, and said: “He will never be forgotten.”
Staff at English Martyrs School, where Rhys was a pupil, decided to create the annual honour to be presented to the best player at the Hartlepool Town Cup Final Under-15s Year 10 Competition, which is held every year.
And at this year’s match against Dyke House, at Billingham Town, where the Martyrs boys won the game 3-2, talented Patrick was given the honour – at the same time as he and his team mates wore T-shirts under their strips emblazoned with Rhys’s name and RIP.
It has been an emotional year for all of us and Rhys will never be forgotton.English Martyrs School pupil Patrick Mulvey
Warm-hearted Patrick was so overwhelmed that he went home and wrote a note, which was passed onto the Mail by his PE teacher Matt East, to print.
It read: “To receive the Rhys Hewitt Man of the Match Award in remembrance of such a great young man and friend was an honour.
“It has been an emotional year for all of us and he will never be forgotten.
“Wish you were here.”
The memorial award is a 12-inch mahogany shield that will be awarded after every annual competition.
Mr East said: “Rhys was a student at our school, so we decided this year to have a Man of the Match Memorial Award that would be given out every year. We hadn’t told the players so it was a nice surprise for them.
“The English Martyrs team all had T-shirts under their football tops with messages about Rhys, and at the end they took their footy tops off. A few of them were really good friends with Rhys, so this meant a lot.”
Popular Rhys, from Grace Close, in Seaton Carew, was walking along Brenda Road – on the same side as the Stagecoach depot – to meet his girlfriend at Burn Valley Wines near Sydenham Road, in Hartlepool, shortly before 7pm.
As he got to the Stagecoach entrance, he decided to cross the road, onto the same side as B&Q, when the collision happened.
He sadly died in James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.