Teams in tributes to popular footballers

TRIBUTES were paid yesterday to two footballers who died in tragic circumstances.

In Suffolk, family and friends turned out for a special game in memory of father-of-two Jamie Perry who collapsed while playing for Trojans FC against Chantry Rangers last month.

Meanwhile in Essex, there was a minute’s silence before Braintree Old Boys’ final league game of the season in tribute to striker Martyn Grimwood, who died following a night out with team-mates on Easter Sunday.

A large crowd gathered to watch Trojans FC take on Chantry Rangers for a friendly fixture at Ipswich Town Football Club’s training complex, in Rushmere.

Before the game, there was a minute’s applause for Mr Perry, 28, who collapsed nearly half an hour into the match on March 14 and later died at Ipswich Hospital.

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The match was held just two days after his funeral, when mourners filled Sproughton Church.

Floral tributes included one from his daughters, Felicity, four, and Alexus, two, which read: “I love you Daddy. I love you always. Missed forever. We look for you in the sky.”

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Mr Perry’s wife, Jo, and daughters attended the memorial game. She was pleased with the turnout and said it was an appropriate way for people to remember her football-mad husband.

Mrs Perry’s stepfather David Ball said: “Jamie was robbed of his dreams and aspirations, together we must ensure these live on, along with his memories.

“Today gives us the opportunity to remember Jamie for the happy, energetic, enthusiastic person he was, through the game he loved.”

The exact cause of his death remains unknown although the ambulance service said it treated a patient for a cardiac arrest.

Meanwhile, a minute’s silence was held before Braintree Old Boys’ Braintree and North Essex Sunday League divisional final against Panfield Bell Rovers, at Halstead, in tribute to Mr Grimwood.

His team wore black arm bands in his memory and also warmed up for the match in T-shirts printed with his nickname “Grimmer”.

The 33-year-old, of Epping Way, Witham, was found in the town’s Braintree Road in the early hours of Easter Sunday with serious head injuries and died shortly afterwards in Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford.

He had been at a team-mate’s engagement party, in Halstead, and took a taxi home with other friends.

His friend and team-mate Lee Holland described him as “a top, top man and one of the best”.

Police have appealed for witnesses to the accident at 12.50am on Sunday to contact them.

Mr Grimwood was travelling in a beige Kia Sedona taxi and anyone with information is asked to contact investigating officers at Dunmow road policing unit on 0300 333 4444.

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