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VILLA STARS BOOST TO TRAGIC CALLUM FUND.

Byline: Kat Keogh

A CAMPAIGN to grant the final wish of a tragic 10-year-old Birmingham schoolboy has received a pounds 9,000 boost.

Talented footballer Callum Henry suffered fatal injuries after he was knocked off his bike as he rode along Farnborough Road, Castle Vale, last September.

The avid Aston Villa fan played for Castle Vale JKS FC and dreamed of one day becoming a professional footballer. He told his head teacher at Topcliffe Primary School just days before he died that his biggest wish was for the school to have its own all-weather pitch.

The Callum's Wish appeal was launched earlier this year to raise pounds 50,000 needed to pay for the football pitch.

A charity match in memory of Callum last month took the current fundraising total to pounds 14,500 after netting pounds 9,000.

More than 1,100 people packed out Castle Vale Stadium to see the Aston Villa Old Stars take on a team of local players, while Callum's JKS teammates faced fellow youth team, the Four Oaks Panthers.

Callum's football coach Chis Allen, who organised the event, said: "We've just finished counting up all the money and I can't believe how generous people have been.

"It takes a tragedy like this for people to come together, and everyone in Castle Vale has really got involved.

"It was a fantastic day and we really feel like we have got the ball rolling now for the appeal."

Other fundraising efforts have included an amazing goal spree by fellow JKS player Aidan Smith - dubbed the 'Mini Messi' after Barcelona ace Lionel Messi.

The seven-year-old raised almost pounds 3,000 after hitting the back of the net more 80 times in one season - including 13 hat-tricks - for his team.

Chris added that emotions ran high when he took Callum's teammates to a youth football tournament at Anfield.

"My heart was in my mouth when we were in the tunnel, because I knew how much being there would have meant to Callum.

"He lived and breathed football and had a very bright future ahead of him in the game.

"He was the best young player I'd seen in a long, long time."

CAPTION(S):

Moving: Villa Old Stars line up for the match in memory of talented young Callum Henry, right.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jun 7, 2012
Words:383
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