'Disgusting' thieves ransack grave of Sheffield Wednesday fan who died aged just 13

Thieves have ransacked the grave of a Sheffield Wednesday superfan and his father who both died tragically young.

Tuesday, 24th March 2020, 2:08 pm

Tom Bothamley – who became the Owls’ youngest club member when granddad Paul Carder registered him on the day he was born – died suddenly of a rare heart condition in July 2016, aged just 13, while watching music videos at his home in Flanderwell, Rotherham.

Tom’s dad Ryan had died of sudden adult death syndrome, aged 15, in February 2002, while his partner Keira was pregnant with Tom.

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Ryan and Tom Bothamley's grave after thieves stole silver flower pots and an owl statuette from the resting place of the Sheffield Wednesday superfans

They are buried together in the graveyard of St Alban’s Church in Wickersley, where their headstone pays homage to their shared love of the Owls.

Tom’s mum Keira Hayden was horrified when she visited the grave yesterday, Thursday, March 19, to discover two silver flower pots had been stolen, along with a white owl statuette.

Tom Bothamley died suddenly aged 13 in 2016

“It’s disgusting. Who in the right mind would even think of doing this? These are two young local lads who tragically lost there lives and majority of the local residents will know what has happened to them and our family,” he said.

“It’s just the lowest of the low, especially after the start to the year we’ve had with my dad’s passing.

“Ryan’s grave has been there since 2002 and then when Thomas passed away in 2016, we changed it to the both of them so they can be together at last due to never meeting each other in person. Nothing has happened in the last 18 years so just don’t get why it would happen right now!”

Keira, who also lost her 23-month-old son Joshua Donnelly on Christmas Day in 2007, has devoted her spare time to fundraising and campaigning since Tom’s death, helping to raise the money for life-saving defibrillators to be installed, and in 2018 she was among the winners at the Pride of Britain Awards.

Tom's father Ryan Bothamley died of sudden adult death syndrome in February 2002, aged 15

Anyone with information is asked to call South Yorkshire Police on 101.

How Tom and Ryan Bothamley's grave looked before thieves struck