Thousands raised in memory of promising young footballer

Promising footballer Niall Dearnaley
Promising footballer Niall Dearnaley
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Thousands of pounds have been raised in memory of a young Leigh footballer who died in May last year.


Staff and students at St Mary’s High School in Astley have raised more than £4,800 in memory of Niall Dearnaley who died suddenly at his home in Water View Park. The former Leigh

Genesis FC player, was described as a “legend” by members of the team after his passing.

St Mary’s High School, where Niall attended as a student, last week said: “Following the death of Niall twelve months ago, his brother, Oran, staff and students are raising money for Once Upon a Smile.

“Organised by Oran and the school, we are holding a non-uniform day and a team of staff and students are completing a 24-hour run on a treadmill on May 10. This will be started and finished by Oran.”

Oran said: “After Niall died, Once Upon a Smile were there to help and support our family and continue to do so. As it is approaching his first anniversary, I wanted to give something back for the charity in his memory. This run seems like the perfect opportunity as Niall would have loved to take part in something like this.

“To be able to do this in his name is fantastic and something I will never forget.”

Niall, of Water View Park in Leigh, was only 18 when he died following a night out with friends. An inquest into his death recorded that he may have suffered fatal complications from diabetes which he had been diagnosed with at 13.

The popular teen was reported to be “very careful” when checking his blood sugars and was believed to have monitored his levels the morning of his death.

Recording his conclusion. Bolton assistant coroner John Pollard said: “Looking at the evidence, and on the balance of probabilities, I think that Niall has died as a result of natural causes.

It is his underlying condition which is the underlying cause of his death even though I do not have a confirmed medical cause.”

Dr David Barker, a consultant pathologist, said the cause of the teenager’s death, after a post-mortem examination and toxicology tests, remained unascertained.

Following his shock death, Leigh Genesis FC, for whom Niall had played for five years, paid tribute to a “loyal” young man.

A statement released by the club said: “Niall played over 320 games for the Club, both Saturdays and Sundays.

“Make no mistake Niall is a legend within Leigh Genesis. “During his playing career he won many team awards including ‘Most Consistent Player’, ‘Most Man of Match’, ‘Parents Player’ and ‘Team Player’, but most of all he won new friends.”

Once Upon A Smile is a bereavement charity that provides support to families following the death of a parent or child. To donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/24hoursforniall