The memory of a former student at Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS), who tragically lost his life in an explosion at a Wessex Water treatment works in Avonmouth last year, has been honoured at a charity football match held at the school.
Sixteen-year-old Luke Wheaton had started an apprenticeship with Wessex Water just months before the tragedy, after leaving BSCS at the end of his Year 11 studies. Three other workers also lost their lives in the incident.
The match, played on Wednesday 26th May, was a special renewal of the annual BSCS Year 11 Leavers’ game, contested between representatives of the 11BGO and 11PRY year groups.
It was attended by Luke’s parents, Matt and Paula, who were presented with the no. 6 football shirt that had been worn by Luke when playing for the school. The shirt had been signed by Luke’s classmates and set in a frame which will soon be hung in the reception area at the school.
To further honour Luke’s memory, the school has decided that, going forward, none of its football teams will field a player in a no. 6 shirt.
The match was played in aid of the Luke Wheaton Legacy Trust, which has been set up by members of Luke’s family and friends, the school, Bradley Stoke Youth FC, North Bristol RFC and Stoke Lane Athletic FC, with the support of Wessex Water, as these were all important aspects of Luke’s life. The Trust fund will support children and young people in various hardships to help them enjoy sport within those clubs and also to support young people in following vocational education and apprenticeships.
A one-minute clap was staged before the start of the game.
BSCS sports teacher Andy Young commented after the match:
“Thank you to you all for the support shown during the Year 11 BGO v PRY football match which was played in such good spirit on Wednesday. We witnessed a 10-goal thriller which finished in a nail-biting penalty shoot out – eventually won by BGO! In total there was over £375 raised from both the Year 13 student v staff football and the Year 11 BGO v PRY match played in Luke’s honour. Thank you everybody.”
The money raised through the game has brought the total amount pledged to the Trust to over £4,000. To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lukewheatonlegacyfund
A memorial event to raise funds for the Trust will be held at North Bristol Rugby Club, Oaklands, Almondsbury on Friday 23rd July, from 5pm. Local businesses are being asked to donate raffle prizes or provide services. If you can help, please make contact via the Luke Wheaton Legacy Trust page on Facebook.
Luke’s involvement with local sports clubs began at the age of six when he joined Bradley Stoke Youth FC (BSYFC), where he was top goal scorer over three seasons. He then went to play for Bradley Stoke United for two seasons before returning to BSYFC.
In the meantime, he started playing rugby for North Bristol RFC where he managed to get into the Bristol Bears Development U12 and U13s teams.
Luke joined Stoke Lane AFC when he was 15, playing for the U18 Colts, but only managed a few games due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The team have since made good on a pledge to win their league ‘undefeated’, in honour of Luke.
A fundraising page set up by Stoke Lane AFC raised £23,717 to help for costs of the funerals for all the families that lost their loved ones in the Avonmouth tragedy.
More information and related links:
- Hi-resolution photos: Facebook; Google
- The Luke Wheaton Legacy Trust on Facebook
- Luke’s Memorial Event on 23rd July 2021 (Facebook)
This article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 16 & 17). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
Revised date for memorial event
Added 29th June 2021.
The memorial event at North Bristol Rugby Club was originally scheduled for Friday 16th July, but has been put back by a week to take advantage of the anticipated easing of Covid-19 restrictions from Monday 19th July.
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