Tomasz Oleszak: Gateshead football pitch to be named after murdered teenager

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A new football pitch is to be named after promising young player Tomasz Oleszak following his death.

The 14-year-old was stabbed and killed in Gateshead in October last year.

To mark the anniversary of his death, on 4 October, his friends and family gathered to lay flowers and a wreath.

Football club Gateshead Cleveland Hall, where Tomasz was a promising young player, has been given £3,600 to develop a 4G pitch in his memory.

Bob Boustead, club chairman, told ITV Tyne Tees: "It's very important because Tomasz was a very valued member of our association and valued member of this year's under 16s.

"There was a small do last night at Springwell and many of the lads were there. A lot of them were distressed.

Tomasz Oleszak, who loved music and playing sport, died days before his 15th birthday. Credit: Family

"It's had a major, major effect and impact on everyone."

The funding was awarded through the Police and Crime Commissioner's office and comes from money seized from criminals via the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said: "It was a horrendous incident and it really impacted the community here and I can't even imagine what his family have gone through in the last 12 months. It really matters that we do this to keep this memory alive."

Cardinal Hume Catholic School, in Gateshead, where he was a pupil, held a service to give staff and young people a chance to celebrate his life. Pupils are also taking part in a football tournament in his memory.

Brendan Robson, headteacher at Cardinal Hume Catholic School, said: “This has been an extremely tough year for this community as Tomasz’s family, friends and teachers have struggled to come to terms with such loss.

"A year on, and we still find it difficult to comprehend his death. However, amidst deep sadness, the people of Cardinal Hume and the local area have shown tremendous dignity and solidarity. I have been truly humbled by our students’ strength, their spirit and their resilience during this past year.

“There will be a special service held in school on Wednesday in memory of Tomasz, when his friends and teachers will have the opportunity to gather in prayer and reflection, honour his memory and celebrate his life.

Flowers and a wreath were laid in memory of Tomasz Oleszak. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

"Many of Tomasz’s friends will also take part in a football tournament dedicated to his memory and in tribute to his contribution to Cardinal Hume Catholic School.”

Tomasz, who was born in Poland in 2007 and moved to the UK with his family in 2012, loved music and sports, playing football and basketball.

He died just days before his 15th birthday after being stabbed in Whitehills Nature Park, in Gateshead.

In June, 15-year-old Leighton Amies was jailed for a minimum of 12 years for his murder.

The football pitch is one of a number of projects being funded to provide youth diversionary activities and community projects.

Others to receive funding are Ashington Rugby Cricket Club, High Spen Social Action, Sunderland’s HALO Project, and Holding Hands North East.

Ms McGuinness said: “There’s no better use for cash seized from crime than channelling it right back into our communities – particularly areas that need it most or where we are wanting to clampdown on things like anti-social behaviour.

"It’s about presenting kids with the chance to do things they want to do, keeping them entertained or even making sure they are fed and feel supported in life."

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