Teams help honour Taylor’s memory

Cramlington Juniors Football Club hosted the inaugural Taylor Atherton Memorial U8 Festival.

Cramlington Juniors Football Club hosted the inaugural Taylor Atherton Memorial U8 Festival.

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Family and friends of a teenager who died in his sleep have come together to honour his memory.

Promising young footballer Taylor Atherton tragically passed away on February 14 this year after his heart stopped in his sleep.

The Taylor Atherton Memorial Shield.

The Taylor Atherton Memorial Shield.

The 15-year-old from North Shields, a pupil at Monkseaton High School, played for Cramlington Juniors Football Club while also being on the books at Middlesbrough FC.

And last weekend, Cramlington Juniors Football Club hosted the inaugural Taylor Atherton Memorial U8 Festival.

Two teams from the club were joined by Sunderland AFC and Ellington Juniors as they battled it out for the Taylor Atherton Memorial Shield.

The Festival was set up to honour the memory of Taylor, with the Under 8s chosen as that was the first year he joined Cramlington.

Cramlington Juniors Football Club and Sunderland AFC battle it out for the Taylor Atherton Memorial Shield.

Cramlington Juniors Football Club and Sunderland AFC battle it out for the Taylor Atherton Memorial Shield.

Now plans are underway to host the event every year.

Taylor’s father Lee and his grandfather, who both work at Multi Packaging Solutions Ltd of Killingworth, joined with their colleagues to establish a legacy with CJFC in Taylor’s name and, together with North East Hearts with Goals, donated a defibrillator to the club in Taylor’s memory.

Cramlington Juniors’ operations manager Jason Hodgson said: “Taylor was an under 8 when he first played for Cramlington Juniors.

“I vividly remember watching his first games for us, in an U8s Festival up at Hillcrest School.

Cramlington Juniors Football Club win the Taylor Atherton Memorial Shield.

Cramlington Juniors Football Club win the Taylor Atherton Memorial Shield.

“We had three teams playing that day and as he had just joined the club, Taylor had been selected to play in what you might call the third team.

“By the end of that festival though it was quite obvious to everyone what a special talent he was.

“So, we all thought it was fitting that we use the same age group to remember and commemorate him.”

A club spokesperson added: “With both Lee and Elaine, Taylor’s parents, in attendance, the Festival was a really special day.

“The referees – Louis Hodgson, Joe Shepherd and Finn Hodgson – were all team mates of Taylor’s and volunteered to come along and officiate the games. The 40 players enjoyed a great day, putting on quite an exhibition of football and sportsmanship.

“After a whole day’s good football it was fitting that Taylor’s club, Cramlington Juniors, were the very first team to lift the Taylor Atherton Memorial Shield.”