Stourbridge Rugby Club to retire number eight shirt after 14-year-old's death
Devastated members of Stourbridge Rugby Club have paid tribute to a star teenage player who died last week.
Thomas Mole, aged 14 and from Wollaston, lost his short battle with illness last Thursday, leaving behind parents Simon and Rachel and little sister Poppy.
Described by coaches and players as a 'true warrior' who would do anything for his teammates, the Oldswinford Hospital School pupil was one of the founding members of his age group's side.
In a poignant statement left on the Stourbridge Rugby Club website, Tom's coach Chris Roe said: "Throughout his years with his team mates Tom flourished into a massively physical and combative number eight and in true 8s style he wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries of the laws.
"He was a true warrior and would do anything for his teammates (although he would never let on just how proud of them he was).
"He will leave a massive size 10, going on 12, gap in their age group that they will never forget or try to replace and our thoughts and condolences are with his dad Simon, his mum Rachel and his little sister Poppy.
"The number eight will be retired in his honour and replaced with a T.
"These times shouldn’t happen to our kids, but the world can be a cruel place at times and we trust within our safe-keeping, and guidance of the coaches, we can help the boys and family through the difficult times ahead.
"The messages of support they have already received from the rugby family both near and far have been truly humbling and these will be of great comfort over the next few months.
"His teammates will line up with the players prior to Saturday’s fixture against Otley for one minute’s applause for Tom."
Whilst he was ill, Thomas was looked after by staff at Birmingham Children's Hospital and the club will now be holding various events to help raise funds for the facility.
A Just Giving page set up for donations in Tom's memory has already raised more than £1,900.
Visit justgiving.com/fundraising/srfcu14 for more.