Ely Fearnley: Sheffield Eagles rally round to remember young fan, 3, after tragic death ​

Sheffield Eagles have rallied round to support the family of a young fan
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The club recently presented a signed shirt to the family of the three-year-old Ely Fearnley, who passed away after being diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour 15 months ago.

Rugby league was a big part of Ely’s life, and he was given the opportunity to appear as a mascot for England in their international game against Tonga last November.

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Ely also had a ‘dream come true’ after being given the chance to sit in a police car.

The local rugby community in Sheffield previously rallied together to raise funds for the family – known as the Fearnley 4 – which was used to make lasting memories with Ely, after over £25,000 was raised.

Ahead the Eagles’ game against Newcastle Thunder in the Betfred Challenge Cup, Ely’s parents, Vicki and Steven Fearnley, and Ely’s brother, Guy, were all invited into the dressing room for the shirt presentation.

Eagles half-back Cory Aston presented the shirt to Ely’s family, which was the first of a series of events to take place prior in Ely’s memory.

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Special ‘Ely’s Army’ flags were held by members of Sheffield Hawks ARLFC, a club that has been close to the family’s heart over recent years.

A minute’s applause also took place ahead of kick-off, with members of the Hawks appearing as mascots for the game, who chanted ‘Ely’s Army’ to show their support of the young child.

Eagles centre Kris Welham, who wears the number three shirt, will now also be sponsored ‘In Memory of Ely Fearnley’, after the players and staff from the men’s team came together to make this happen.

After awarding the Fearnley family with the shirt, Cory Aston said: “We’d all like to show our support for what the family have been through, Ely will forever be number three and we really wanted to create a bit of a legacy at the club through his memory.

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“We’ve all come together to make it possible for the number three shirt to be sponsored in Ely’s memory, it won’t just be for this year as we want it to be a long-term thing to remember him”.

Ely’s dad, Steven said “Ely loved the Sheffield Eagles, and we came down to games quite a lot as a family.

“The club have been so amazing with all of us, and especially Ely.”

Ely was well loved at the club, and the Eagles have pledged to continue his memory for years to come.

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The Eagles ran in 15 tries as they beat Thunder 88-12 to win through to the fourth round of the Challenge Cup.

Izaac Farrell and James Glover both went on to score individual hat-tricks during the game, while there were also braces for Matty Marsh, Aaron Murphy, Jack Hansen and Vila Halafihi.

Mitch Clark also scored his home debut for the club against his former side, helping secure our place in the next round of the competition.

And last weekend the Eagles ran in six tries as they secured a place in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Quarter Final with a 16-30 win at Midlands Hurricanes.