The thoughts of all involved in a rugby tournament this weekend will be with a nine-year-old player fighting for his life after a tragic accident.
Sebastian Goold, known as Seb, from Wansford, suffered severe injuries after falling from an emergency door on a moving coach as he travelled home from a tournament in Norfolk on April 13.
The nine-year-old remains in a critical condition at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
But on Sunday Stamford Rugby Club, for which Seb is a player, will host the annual Stamford Mini Rugby Festival. And despite the tragic circumstances, organisers have vowed to make the competition the biggest and best ever in honour of young Seb.
Kate Everitt, who is helping organise the tournament, said: “As we enter the closing stages of the penultimate fixture of the season, Stamford Mini Rugby Festival is looking to be the biggest and best for quite a while.
“Whilst we are all keeping Seb Goold in our thoughts, we are looking to make this a festival to remember in his honour.”
More than 140 teams at various age levels will compete in the tournament, although Seb’s own under-9s team will not play. Club chairman Neil Jolly said it was important the event took place to give players and parents something positive to focus on.
He added: “Seb is responding to treatment. He still has a long way to go. These are short steps and steps in the right direction.
“With that in mind we decided to go ahead with the tournament.”
Neil said Sunday’s event would be the first time the under-9s players had seen each other as a group since Seb’s accident.
He added: “The mood has been extremely low. But the tournament was so well-established that we decided to go ahead with it.
“We just want to try to make as good as possible for the lads, as much as everyone else. And it’s a bit of a boost for some of the parents and coaches.”
Sunday’s tournament will begin at 10am at Empingham Road playing fields.
Teams from as far afield as Huddersfield and York will join the regulars from the Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire area.
There will be a cake stall, goodies from Sweet Shoppe Dreams, food from Grasmere Farm and a full bar.
Live updates will come from the @srfucminifest Twitter account and there will be regular updates on the club’s Facebook page.