South Shields FC to stage Jak Fada Day in memory of young supporter
A schoolboy whose tragic story touched the hearts of many will be honoured by his hometown football club.
On what will be known as Jak Fada Day, all accompanied children under the age of 16 will be able to watch South Shields' Evo-Stik Premier Division match against Matlock Town on Saturday, December 1, free of charge.
A collection will also be held on the day for a Christmas toy appeal in memory of Jak, who tragically passed away last November at the age of just 10.
Jak's mum Ashley Tomlin also died from the same heart condition as Jak less than a month later, leaving the family devastated.
Since their deaths, Jak's family have concentrated their efforts on helping those less fortunate, and the toys bought from the appeal will be donated to worthy causes in South Tyneside.
Jak was a big South Shields supporter and regularly attended games and holiday coaching courses at Mariners Park.
The club felt it would be fitting to honour the popular youngster at the Matlock game, just over a year on from his death.
South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson said: "The tragic death of Jak and his mum Ashley deeply affected everyone in the South Tyneside community and continues to leave us lost for words.
"Jak was extremely popular with everyone who knew him and the reaction from the public after the tragedy showed just how much he meant to so many people.
"He was a big Shields fan, too, and we have been looking at ways to honour him and his mum in the lead-up to Christmas.
"We feel that Jak Fada Day will be a fitting way to do that as we again show solidarity with the family and remind them that we will always be here for them.
"We are sure that our supporters and the community in general will get behind this and ensure that December 1 is a great day when we can celebrate Jak."
South Shields striker Carl Finnigan, who got to know Jak well when coaching him at holiday courses at Mariners Park, said: "Jak was a very special young lad who I won't ever forget.
"Everyone at the club will always remember his great enthusiasm and excitement.
"He constantly had a smile on his face whenever you saw him, and he will always be a huge miss for us all.
"Jak Fada Day will be an emotional day for us all and it's important we always remember his great spirit, which continues to inspire us."
All children under the age of 16 with a paying adult will gain free entry to Mariners Park on December 1, with a maximum of two free children per one paying adult.