Norwich FC keeper Jed Steer goes back to Reepham High School to raise funds in friend’s memory
A Norwich City star and his school mates who were united by the tragic death of a friend six years ago went back to school today to raise hundreds of pounds in his memory.
Reepham High School student Andrew Stringer fell ill with a rare brain tumour in August 2005, and died just before his 14th birthday 15 months later, despite undergoing five major operations and chemotherapy.
A second student died of leukaemia short afterwards, but one of Andrew's friends, professional goalkeeper Jed Steer, said the school was brilliant at helping them through a 'very tough and dark time'.
Another friend Ben Ringer, who works part time at the school, helped him organise the events, which included a raffle and mufti day and culminated in a staff against former pupils football match this afternoon.
He said: 'We were told [Andrew] was getting better and then all of a sudden it was 'Right, he has four weeks to live, you can all come around to see him once more'. We all said our goodbyes. We were told four weeks and then we were told one Sunday night two weeks later that he had passed.'
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Mr Steer has visited the school for several lunchtimes this term to face an estimated 600 penalty kicks from students, with about 50 shots beating him, and returned again today to referee the 30 minute match.
He said: 'There's some great little footballers here and the year eight team has done well. I can tell there's a lot of ability here. Just looking at the technique, the penalties they take are very good.'
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One successful opponent was Joseph Mabee, 11, who had clearly prepared like a professional. He said: 'I tried to look for a spot where he does not go normally. He normally goes left so I went right and I scored. I felt so good. He said 'Well done'.'
Tim Gibbs, who was Andrew's head of year, said: 'He was a fantastic lad. He was good at everything he did and a very bright student. I think about what he had missed out on – it would all have been there for him. A really good group of his friends has since then always remembered him through charity events and fund raising.'
The staff won the football match 1-0, and the activities have so far raised nearly �2,500. To make a donation, visit http://www.justgiving.com/Andrewsfootballmatch