Football pitch gets new lease of life in memory of 17-year-old who died in his sleep

A rundown sports field has been given a new lease of life as a lasting tribute to a talented young footballer who died.

Farley Kidner was 17 years old when he died in his sleep
Farley Kidner was 17 years old when he died in his sleep

Businesses and community bodies put shoulders to the wheel to install new goalposts and benches in memory of 17-year-old Farley Kidner, who died in his sleep in April last year from sudden adult death syndrome.

Money raised by school friends and sports clubs has been used to create the Farley's World ground.

To get the ball rolling a working party of volunteers installed two new goalposts and benches at Coppice Farm Park and Field in Willenhall, where Farley spent many hours honing his goalscoring skills.

His mother Leanne East, 41, and stepfather Andy Paddock, 47, praised the community for its support in donating in cash and kindness to get the improvements done at the Walsall Council-owned park, off Coppice Farm Way.

The working party at Coppice Farm Park and Fields, in Willenhall

Miss East said: "This whole project for us was about Farley and just doing what he would want us to do and I hope we have done him proud.

"We wouldn’t have been able to get this completed without the community donations but also Walsall Housing Group and Travis Perkins who have supplied the materials and purchased a defibrillator whilst several local businesses have agreed to help us install the goals and benches."

More than £20,000 came from online collections and fun days organised by football teams, while other donations included almost £4,000 worth of items from Walsall Housing Group. Commercial supporters were ERM, Wolverhampton Artificial Lawns, Cunningham Building Services, Broadhurst Fencing while Ginger Apple Signs donated the Farley’s World signs.

The pitch before the posts were replaced

Mr Paddock said: "With the help of Jaki Brunton-Douglas at Walsall Council it just started to move quickly and once we had approval after the consultation period things really picked up and we could start planning the install.

"It will be a very emotional day when it’s all completed but also a satisfying one to know we actually have been able to give something back from Farley who was a selfless person who loved sport, so this is his way of saying thank you to the whole community.

"We want his legacy to be seen every day and if in 20 years' time children are still playing on Farley’s World and people are chatting on his benches then we have achieved our goal."

Andy Paddock and friends with the new goalposts at Coppice Farm Park and Fields, in Willenhall, in memory of Farley Kidner

"We will be forever grateful to everyone who has help make this happen," he added.

The Walsall Academy sixth former had previously attended Coppice Performing Arts School, in Wednesfield.

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