The nine-year-old boy critically injured after falling from a moving bus on his way back from a rugby tournament has been named as Sebastian Goold.
Sebastian was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, after the accident which happened on the A47 near Tilney All Saints, West Norfolk, at 3.45pm yesterday (Sunday). He was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge late last night, where he is still in a critical condition.
Sebastian was among a group of 20 children and 10 adults from Stamford Rugby Club, who were on the coach. They were travelling back from a tournament they had played in at Holt in north Norfolk.
Sebastian’s father was on the bus and his mother was travelling in a car as part of the convoy.
President of Stamford Rugby Club Steve Fowkes said Sebastian was a “promising” player.
He said: “All our thoughts are with Sebastian Goold and his family.
“We’ve had some fantastic messages of support from other rugby clubs that were at the tournament, and also from a rugby club in Ireland where a similar incident happened.”
He added: “The team have been very successful. There are around 400 playing for the team.
“We don’t push in any sort of direction, they are all learning the skills they need before they have a particular role on the team.
“But Seb is a promising player who is part of a very successful team.
“The medical staff are now taking charge and it is a question of waiting.”
Chairman of Stamford Rugby Club Neil Jolly met parents and players of the Under 8s and Under 9s teams, who Sebastian was playing for, when they arrived back in Stamford.
He said: “I was there when the bus got back last night and everyone was very subdued.
“There was a very quiet and reserved atmosphere.
“We have our young teams going off to play in tournaments all over the country and naturally you expect them to all come back.
“We have a group of 200 mini players at the club who all enjoy their rugby and the boy is very much a part of that.
“The thoughts of everyone here at the club are with him and his family.”
Mr Jolly said it was believed Sebastian had fallen from an emergency door of the 71-seater, double decker coach.
In a further statement, Mr Jolly added: “Stamford Rugby Club has been devastated by the tragic accident to one of its mini rugby players on the way home from the Holt Festival in Norfolk on Sunday.
“Seb Goold has critical injuries and is receiving the best treatment possible at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge supported by his family.
“Our thoughts are with Seb and his family and we all pray that his condition improves soon, we are all deeply shocked at what has happened and many messages of support have been received from the rugby community throughout the region.”
Police are continuing their investigations today (Monday) into how the accident happened.
Insp Chris Brooks, from the roads policing unit at Norfolk Police, said: “This is a very difficult time for the boy’s family and we have specially trained officers supporting them.
“We’ve already interviewed some of the passengers on board as well as drivers who in the area at the time of the incident.
“As a result of initial enquiries we know just prior to the incident that people were queuing for the toilet. Somehow, the door has opened and the boy has fallen from the moving coach.
“The coach was recovered yesterday and is being kept in a secure compound. The vehicle will be examined by police and VOSA investigators and this is the focus of our enquiry at this stage.
“We will also be speaking to other people who were on board at the time of the incident and it would be inappropriate to speculate on possible causes at this stage.”
The rugby community has been shocked by the incident yesterday and professional players have tweeted their support for the boy and club.
Harlequins and England rugby international Joe Marler tweeted: “Thoughts are with Stamford Rugby Club at this time.”
Marler’s Harlequins team mate and former Stamford RFC players Louis Grimoldby wrote: “Thoughts and prayers are with my old Club, Stamford Rugby Club and the boy’s family. Awful news. Fingers crossed.”
Deeping Rugby Club, Bourne Rugby Club and Stoneygate Rugby Club, which plays in Uppingham, have also all tweeted support for the youngster.
No-one else was injured and all the other passengers were taken to a rest centre set up at the King’s Lynn police station, where alternative travel arrangements were made for them.