Tributes have been paid to rugby-loving teenager George Parsons - affectionately known as GP on the pitch by his rugby coach and Scout leader.
The Rugby Coach
“GP came to play rugby at SRUFC over six years ago a fairly quiet and shy boy but his confidence soon grew and it quickly became apparent to the coaches that he had a real aptitude for rugby, particularly when the tag belts went and the tackling started!
“GP soon became a key member of the squad whom the other boys looked up to and wanted to play alongside.As one of the most long-standing members of the team, GP has helped mentor and encourage many new players over the last few years.
“He started his playing career as a hooker but more recently moved to play open side flanker a position which suited his ferocious tackling ability. His big smile and firm handshake before and after every game lifted the hearts of his coaches and team mates.
“Recently GP had been selected to train as part of the England Rugby Developing Player Programme which we all know he would have excelled at, and would no doubt have led to greater things for this talented young player.
“On Sunday, January 10, members of Sheffield RUFC came together to pay their respects to one of their own. With the flags flying at half mast at the stroke of 11 Abbeydale Sports Club stood silent to remember GP, an outstanding young man taken from us too soon.
“A testament to GP’s popularity was the sheer number of members who came to pay their respects, from senior members of the club to past players and their parents, as well as the whole age grade section. He will be greatly missed by the players and their parents, coaches and the SRUFC family.”
By Paul Rodgers, SRUFC coach
The Scout Leader
“George joined 74th Oak Street Scouts as a Beaver at the tender age of six, moving into Cubs and then in to Scouts. Last year marked Oak Streets centenary year, a year we were fortunate enough to share with George.
“This year saw 27 Scouts including George, and six adults venture to Kandersteg in Switzerland.
“The 11 days we were out there were probably the best the group has seen, which saw us white water rafting, train hopping, sky diving, mountain climbing, zip lining, bridge swinging, as well as the occasional dip in the lake, and not to forget the colossal amount of walking. It is traditional on international trips to exchange neckers with other Scout groups, something which George entered into confidently with a smile and open arms.
“Finding out that George was no longer with us was a heartbreaking day for everyone, and the days that followed weren’t much better. Our first day back at Scouts after the Christmas holiday was going to be very difficult.
“We decided to build a bonfire and asked each scout to write down their own feelings and memories of George and to place them in the fire.
“We then gathered around the fire sharing memories and thoughts of George, times we had spent together and the laughter that came with them. There were many tears shed that night, but also many laughs, George was kind enough to leave behind such great memories and to have shared his heart with us while he could.
“As a Scout leader I can honestly say that George had more love and kindness in his heart than most, something which all those around him could feel.
“He was the most liked, loved and caring young man I have had the privilege of meeting, and we will hold onto those precious memories we have, sharing them with the generations of Scouts to come.
“George Parsons is our 2015 Scout of the Year, and the award has now been renamed in his honour.
“Come spring we plan on planting a tree as a permanent reminder of a wonderful young man and his passion for life.”
By Steve Clay, 74th Oak Street Scouts