Football clubs take to the field for tragic headteacher

IPSWICH: Tragic headteacher Owain Richards has been honoured after the football fanatic’s two former clubs contested a match in his memory.

Pupils, parents and staff at Cliff Lane Primary School were left in shock when the 42-year-old was found dead at his Ipswich home in February.

The father-of-two was a former semi-professional footballer, but in recent years had played for Boxted Lodgers in Essex and the Holbrook Swan in Suffolk.

The two sides came together on Saturday to play a match in his honour before the FA Cup final between Portsmouth and Chelsea – Mr Richards’ favourite team.

His wife, Angela, and two children, Oscar, seven, and Charlotte, 12, watched as home side Holbrook overcame their visitors 3-0.

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Officials from both clubs have pledged to make the game an annual event.

Organiser Martyn O’Leary, manager of the Holbrook Swan Football Club, said: “Owain was incredibly passionate about his football and would have been so proud to see his former clubs taking each other on in his memory.

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“Today was not about the result, but about remembering a great character.”

Mr Richards had been headteacher at Cliff Lane since 2004 after moving to Suffolk from Essex. After his death, colleagues and friends remembered him as a dedicated professional, an inspirational teacher and a loving father.

Mr O’Leary added: “We were keen to do something to remember Owain and a football match seemed like the perfect tribute. The only sadness is he couldn’t be here to take part.”

An inquest into Mr Richards’ death is due to take place tomorrow.

- If you would like to pay tribute to Owain Richards, write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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