Tributes paid to popular Sheffield Wednesday fan, 13, after shock death

Thomas Bothamley
Thomas Bothamley
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Friends and relatives of a popular Sheffield Wednesday fan have been left devastated at his shock death over the weekend.

Thomas Bothamley, aged 13, from Wickersley, Rotherham, died suddenly on Friday night.

He suffered from a heart condition and had two mild heart attacks over recent years but had recovered and was a talented footballer, who played for Wickersley Youth's u14s team.

His father, Ryan Bothamley, who was a Sheffield Wednesday academy player, died from sudden adult death syndrome in 2002 when he was 15 years old.

Ryan died before his partner, Keira Hayden, found out she was pregnant with Thomas.

Thomas' death is the third tragedy to have hit Keira, who lost her 23-month-old son Joshua Donnelly, on Christmas Day 2007.

The toddler was born with his bowel not properly formed and underwent a string of operations before he died.

Len Curtis, chairman of Wickersley Youth JFC, said: “It is with profound sadness that our outstanding U14 player, Tom Bothamley has suddenly passed away.

"Tom joined our club as a seven year old in 2011 and was one of the outstanding players, not only in our club but also one of the finest players in Sheffield Junior League.

"I was very lucky to have coached him and watched him develop into a fantastic footballer. He was adored by his team mates and his tragic loss is hard to describe for his family and friends.

"To watch him shine in our tournament and to know he’ll not wear our jersey again or see his big smile again is something none of us will ever understand.

"He was great fun, caring, warm, mischievous and such a big personality in every way.

"Words cannot describe how much he’ll be missed. We send our sincerest condolences to his wonderful family."

Thomas' uncle, Lewis Carder, has spoken of his family's heartache on Facebook and has launched an appeal for Sheffield Wednesday fans to take part in a one minute round of applause when the Owls play Benfica in a pre-season friends on Wednesday, July 20.

He wants Owls to pay their respects to the tragic teen, who attended Wickersley School, during the 13th minute.

Lewis said Thomas' birth had been a 'blessing' to his family following the death of the teenager's father at such a young age.

"Words cannot describe how much pain our family is going through but all we want is him to be remembered how he was," he said.

"He was a very excited Wednesday fan. He enjoyed his brilliant day out at Wembley and had a season ticket in the south stand with his grandad for the forthcoming season.

"All I ask is for the pre-season friendly against Benfica is to have a minute's applause in the 13th minute for him. He will be looking down on us all along with his dad up there hoping Carlos and the lads can push us to where we belong next season."

A spokesman for Wickersley School said: "Wickersley School is devastated by the news of Tom's tragic death.

"He was a popular member of the school community and football team and he will be very much missed by classmates and staff.

"Our thoughts are with Tom's mum and family at this terrible time."

Friends and relatives of Thomas have donated over £6,000 since his death following the launch of an online appeal.

A charity football match is to be held at Wickersley School on Wednesday, where Thomas' friends will play against a team of teachers.