THE teenager son of a former Hartlepool United striker has died after being hit by a car.
Rhys Hewitt, 14, the son of former Pools centre forward, Marty Hewitt, was knocked over while crossing the road outside the Stagecoach depot in Brenda Road, at about 7pm last night.
The English Martyrs School pupil died in James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough this morning.
Michael Lee, headteacher at the Catcote Road school, broke the news to Rhys’s form class before gathering all Year 10 students into a hastily-arranged assembly to inform them.
Trained counsellors on the Martyrs staff have been speaking to students who were struggling to come to terms with the news.
Pupils were told they were welcome to visit the school’s chapel if they were not in the right frame of mind to attend lessons.
Mr Lee said: “As a school community we are all incredibly saddened by the news of Rhys’s death.
“I spoke to his form class and teacher this morning. The reaction was one of complete shock, then upset.
“People deal with news like this in different ways.
“To have to go into a classroom and tell children that one of their friends has died is difficult.
“Yesterday Rhys was sat in that classroom with them. Today, his chair was empty.”
Mr Lee had the Martyrs flag flying at half mast, and described Rhys as a talented student with a great sense of humour.
He added: “He was a popular lad. He was very intelligent, well-liked by students and staff.
“He had a great sense of humour, he was football mad and he loved his music.
“It goes without saying our thoughts are with his family.”