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Tributes to boy killed by 'freak accident' at football match

Tributes have poured in to a 12-year-old boy killed by a 'freak accident' at a football match via a Facebook page set up in his honour.

Oliver Croker, from Bampton in Devon, was watching a match at Bradninch Football Club in Kensham Park, near Exeter, when part of the metal fencing reportedly became lodged in his head.

Kensham Park, where the tragic accident happened Credit: Google Maps

Ellie Brant described him as a "gorgeous little bundle of joy", while Samantha Masters said he was a "lovely, friendly, polite, cheeky lovable boy".

And on his own Facebook page, his older brother Tom described saying goodbye to Oliver as "the hardest day of my life".

Dozens of other messages have poured in.

Oliver you will be missed by everyone, family, friends, you were well loved by all and today at school it just wasn't the same. I hope they are looking after you well up there because you deserve only the best. Best wishes to his family and I'm so sorry for your loss, Oliver was such a good person who didn't deserve to die.

– Holly Johnson

I'll miss seeing you on my dog walks, always a mischievous glint in your eye and a cheeky grin as you'd dash over to stroke the dogs.

– Lucy Henshaw

He always had a smile on his face, always polite, and a pleasure to know.

When mum and dad used to live opposite he would often pop over when my dad was working in the garage to see what he was up to.

Bampton has lost a fantastic young boy.

– Kirsty Bond

Football club sends condolences after boy, 12, dies

A football club has sent its condolences to the family of a 12-year-old boy who died after being hit in the head in a 'freak accident' pitch-side.

The 'freak accident' happened at Kensham Park, near Exeter Credit: Google Maps

Oliver 'Olly' Croker was watching a match at Bradninch Football Club in Kensham Park near Exeter when part of the metal fencing reportedly became lodged in his head.


School pays tribute to boy killed in 'freak accident'

Teachers have paid tribute to a 12-year-old boy killed in a freak accident while he watched football.

Oliver Croker - known as Olly - was hit in the head while watching a match in Bradninch, near Exeter.

Staff at Tiverton High School have paid tribute Credit: Google Maps

Staff at Tiverton High School in Devon today described him as a "very knowledgable and sparky lad", and a keen rugby plater with "high hopes" for his future.

In describing Olly, the first words that come to mind are that he was the life and soul of the party; a larger than life character, brimming with confidence, with an eagerness and enthusiasm for taking part in all aspects of school life.

His youthful vibrancy and curiosity about life shaped his whole character.

He was a very knowledgeable and sparky lad with his finger on the pulse of what was going on at school, in the local community and beyond.

He was multi-talented and we had high hopes for his future. Olly was a keen sportsman and represented THS at rugby and even played up an age group.

Our thoughts and wishes are with Olly’s parents and brothers.

– Tiverton High School

A support team of counsellors had been made available to help anyone who needed support in the coming days, the school added.

Boy, 12, dies after being hit by goalpost in freak accident

A 12-year-old boy has died after being hit by a metal pole in a freak accident while watching a football game, police have said.

Oliver Croker, of Bampton in Devon, was watching a match at Bradninch Football Club in Kensham Park near Exeter with his family at the weekend when the accident happened.

Reports suggest two players had crashed into a sideline banner, and a hoop used as part of the fencing became lodged in the young boy's head.

He was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, but Devon and Cornwall Police today confirmed he had died from his injuries.

Pavey: Kids care more about sports day than gold medal

Record-breaking runner Jo Pavey's young children are more concerned about whether she can beat the other mums at their school sports day, her husband has joked.

Her son Jacob is four, while Emily is just 11 months old - and despite wowing fans by becoming the oldest ever female European champion, the youngsters are barely interested.

Her husband and coach Gavin told ITV News that Emily claps along with the crowd and Jacob cheers - but said he is more concerned that his champion mother comes in first in the annual school 'mums race'.

Family's shock and pride at Pavey's record-breaking win

The husband and coach of four-time Olympian champion Jo Pavey has spoken of his shock and pride after she became the oldest ever female European champion.

Runner Jo claimed gold in the women's 10,000 metres at the opening night of the European Championships in Zurich yesterday.

Her husband Gavin told ITV News that they had expected the Exeter mother-of-two to medal as she had been doing well in training - but said it still came as a "massive shock" when she crossed the finish line in first place.

It came just 10 days after she won bronze in the 5,000m at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.


Man jailed for cathedral rampage

A man who climbed on top of a cathedral altar after pulling down his trousers and then punched a 70-year-old woman in the face has been jailed.

Nicholas Courtney, 35, claims he walked into Exeter Cathedral to pray before being overcome by the urge to "give everything to God".

He placed £20 in a donation box before removing his trousers - exposing his buttocks to worshippers and visitors.

Courtney then ran to the cathedral's high altar and jumped on top, before leaping off, breaking a crucifix and fleeing the building.

Nicholas Courtney said he felt a sudden urge to "give everything to God". Credit: PA Wire

He smacked an outraged onlooker after she began reprimanding him, then targeted a 70-year-old woman who was posing for a picture with her young grandchildren ahead of her fourth course of chemotherapy.

Courtney punched her in the right eye, causing the grandmother to fall to the ground and break her wrist.

Stunned members of the public outside the cathedral were able to pin Courtney down and restrain him until police arrived.

Tattooed Courtney pleaded guilty to criminal damage and inflicting grievous bodily harm. He was jailed for a total of 26 months at Exeter Crown Court.

'Facebook' invented in 1902, news archive shows

'Face-book' was originally an Edwardian parlour game, a newspaper report from 1902 has revealed.

A report in Exeter newspaper The Western Times from 1902 Credit: PA

As the social networking giant celebrates its 10th birthday, a 1902 clipping from Exeter newspaper The Western Times shows that a paper prototype called Face-book was "the latest novelty for wiling the time in a country house."

The lower-tech version involved guests at stately homes drawing a picture of a face in an album before signing it, with the newspaper adding: "The result is very amusing and the worst drawings frequently cause the greatest entertainment."

Amy Sell, a researcher from the British Newspaper Archive, said: "Forgotten stories like this really enrich what we know about the past. It's surprising just how closely the 'Face-book' of 1902 reflects what we use today - history certainly does seem to repeat itself."

  1. West Country

TV burglar jailed after he goes back to crime

Derek Bray. Credit: Exeter Court Service

A serial burglar who boasted on television about being a reformed character has been jailed for six years for raiding the homes of two sleeping pensioners.

Derek Bray was watched by millions of viewers on the Channel Four series Thief Catchers as he told how a special police unit had helped him turn his back on a lifetime of crime and drugs.

He moved to Exeter from Bristol to start a new life but soon drifted back into his old ways and has now been jailed for a crime spree in which he raided four homes in the space of a few weeks.

Bray, aged 37, of Blackall Road, Exeter, admitted two burglaries, two thefts, taking a car without consent, handling, and asked for three other offences to be considered.

He was jailed for six years by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, at Exeter Crown Court, who was told that Bray has 35 previous convictions dating back to his teens.

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