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'I think Dan would have been proud of everyone'

Hundreds turn out for charity rugby match in memory of 12-year-old Dan Beal

A minute’s applause was held as hundreds of people turned out for a memorial rugby match in memory of Birkby schoolboy Dan Beal.

Dan, who died in June, was a popular pupil at the Crossley Heath Grammar School in Halifax, where he was captain of the Year 7 rugby team.

Crossley Heath and Huddersfield RUFC, the two under 13 teams which Dan played for, competed in a friendly match in Lockwood Park on Saturday.

But it was the team that Dan captained which won 30-20 and was awarded with the Daniel Beal Memorial Trophy in an emotional ceremony afterwards.

Dan’s dad Dave refereed the match, while his mum Zoe and older siblings Ciaran and Martha watched from the stands.

 

Dave, who usually referees girls’ matches, said: “It was fabulous. It went better than I thought it would.

“The lads played in the right spirit. I didn’t have to speak to anybody about their behaviour on the pitch.

“It was exactly the sort of game Danny would have loved to play in or watch. He loved playing when it rained, he would have been in his element getting wet.

“Despite what happened it wasn’t hard at all. The lads helped with that by approaching it in the right way.”

Former Crossley Heath headteacher Wendy Moffat and other staff from the school attended.

Memorial junior rugby match for team mate Dan Beal who died earlier this year at Huddersfield Rugby Union Ground at Lockwood Park

 

Crossley Heath players Dylan Hill, Harry Thorpe and Elijah Peers-Webb, all aged 12, thought it went well.

Dylan said: “Dave gave us a choice of a minute’s applause or silence at the start of the match, but we all thought it would be better to celebrate Dan’s life with applause.”

Harry added: “I think Dan would have been proud of everyone.”

Elijah said: “We played together really well. We came together better as a team than we ever have before.”

Dave recently set up a charity in his son’s memory, The DB12Foundation, which will use sport ‘as a vehicle to help school students to improve their attainment in the classroom, teach kids the value of determination, going the extra mile, self-reliance and creativity.’

 

The match was the charity’s first event and it raised £565.

Entry was free but there were collection buckets, as well as programmes and wristbands on sale.

An inquest into Dan’s death has been opened and adjourned.

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