CELEBRITIES and ex-sports stars have been invited to play in a charity football match in memory of an 11-year-old boy who died following a car crash.

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Ethan Linwood, who lived on the outskirts of Thaxted with his parents Morag and Bob and sister Emelia, was a front seat passenger in a black Peugeot 206 when it left the road and struck a tree on the B1051 between Thaxted and Great Sampford on October 3.

The Saffron Walden County High student was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital with head injuries but died in intensive care five days later.

Retained firefighter Matt Goullee was part of a crew called to help free Ethan from the car. He and his colleagues at Thaxted Fire Station attended a memorial for Ethan last month – a moving occasion which saw more than 500 people turn out to remember the youngster – and that prompted him to come up with the fundraising idea.

“Ethan’s death has hit the community really hard and I just wanted to do something as a way for everybody who knew him to pay their respects and raise some money for a charity in his memory,” he said.

“I know a few ex-pros and have a friend who has asked Mark Wright from The Only Way is Essex if his charity football team Essex FC would be able to come along.”

Mr Linwood said the family were very moved by the thought and added that it would be a nice way to have a more fun, relaxed environment for people to come together and remember Ethan.

“We are touched by Matt’s lovely gesture.

“It is one of the many examples of human kindness that we have experienced since Ethan’s death and we would support it 100 per cent,” he told the Reporter.

“Ethan really enjoyed his sport, football and golf in particular. He wasn’t going to be the next David Beckham but he had a chance of being the next Tiger Woods.

“To the fury of his football coaches, he was more interested in making sure the opposition player on the ground was OK, rather than running after the ball.”

Mrs Linwood added: “Ethan had such a wide range of interests, from music to fashion, his Xbox and fishing with his granddad.

“He was a huge fan of The Only Way is Essex and had just had his hair cut like Mario from the show, so it would be lovely to have members of the cast come along.”

Money raised from the football match will be put towards the Ethan Rees Linwood Memorial Fund – a charity the Linwood’s are setting up as a way of remembering Ethan’s generosity.

“Ethan was always a big giver in life and we wanted to encompass his spirit by helping people through the Ethan Rees Linwood Memorial Fund,” Mrs Linwood explained.

“He was very much involved in the community and we want the fund to benefit everybody – especially children his age.”

Ex-Tottenham midfielder Steve Sedgley has pledged his support and is on the lookout for more ex-pros to join him for the game, expected to be played in the new year.

• DO you know any celebrities or former professional footballers who could take part in the match? If so, e-mail editor@saffronwalden-reporter.co.uk

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