Watch as former teammates join minute's applause in memory of brave Sheffield teen dubbed 'The Gaffer'

A minute’s applause rang out at football pitches across Sheffield this weekend in memory of a brave 16-year-old who lost his long battle with a brain tumour.

By Robert Cumber
Sunday, 9th May 2021, 2:56 pm

Reece Winterbottom from Beighton, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2012, aged seven, just months after his mum Kirsty had died from skin cancer.

His family thought he had beaten the tumour following extensive treatment but he sadly died on Monday, May 3, after it returned as a rare, very aggressive form of cancer.

Reece was a big Sheffield United fan and a talented footballer himself, playing at right-back for Killamarsh Dynamos U16s.

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Killamarsh Dynamos U16s and their opponents join in a minute's applause in memory of former player Reece Winterbottom, who sadly died aged 16

Young footballers across Sheffield paid their respects to Reece, described by his father David as a ‘loving, caring’ boy, by joining in a minute’s applause before matches this weekend.

The touching gesture was coordinated by the Sheffield & District Junior Sunday League, and the clubs taking part included Sheffield Steelers Junior FC, Dronfield Town FC and Woodhouse Juniors FC, for whom Reece's brother Charlie plays.

Reece’s dad David had requested a minute’s applause for his son, rather than a minute’s silence, as it’s what his son would have preferred.

Reece’s old team were in a cup final at Kiveton today, Sunday, May 9, and players from both sides joined in the heartfelt applause in honour of the former Westfield School pupil before kicking off.

Sarah Butcher, a parent at the club, said: “Whilst playing for the Killamarsh Dynamos, Reece was well known as a no-nonsense, tough-tackling player. He played every game with a smile on his face; football was his passion.

"Affectionately nicknamed ‘The Gaffer’, Reece was respected and loved by his manager and teammates. Reece was a brave young man who will be sadly missed.”

Reece had been named Killamarsh Dynamos’ ‘Club Person of the Year’ in 2017, in recognition of the courage and bravery he showed throughout his treatment, and the club praised him for his ‘inspirational, strong, determined, positive attitude’.

Reece’s family has set up two fundraising appeals in his memory to show their gratitude for the care he received.

To donate to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, visit: https://gofund.me/6828a545.

To donate to The Children’s Hospital Charity, visit: https://gofund.me/31f6ce36.