South Shields FC player’s special school visit as tributes paid to Jak Fada

South Shields FC player Carl Finnigan, front right, and commercial director David Mitchell, front left, with pupils at Westoe Crown Primary School. Picture by Lee Hogan.
South Shields FC player Carl Finnigan, front right, and commercial director David Mitchell, front left, with pupils at Westoe Crown Primary School. Picture by Lee Hogan.

Former schoolfriends of tragic South Shields schoolboy Jak Fada came together to create a permanent memorial for the youngster.

Jak, 10, tragically died last year after suffering a ruptured heart artery.

Jak Fada

Jak Fada

His death devastated all who knew him, particularly his family, as well as school-mates and teachers at Westoe Crown Primary School.

Jak, who was a keen supporter of South Shields FC and Newcastle United, will now always be remembered at the school after a quiet corner was created in his honour.

Pupils also made ceramic poppies in memory of the youngster, while representatives of South Shields FC paid a special visit to the school to create poppies of their own.

On the day, pupils were encouraged to wear claret and blue or black and white – the colours of the two football teams Jak supported.

It helped the children, staff and family to come together as a mark of respect, and it’s an area of the school that will always be there

Steve Price

As part of the non-uniform day, over £1,100 was raised to go towards the project.

The school’s headteacher, Steve Price, said: “One of the things the school and the family thought would help them through the grieving process was to think about how we could remember Jak in school.

“The children came up with the idea of creating a special peaceful, reflective corner in the school.

“It helped the children, staff and family to come together as a mark of respect, and it’s an area of the school that will always be there.”

South Shields player Carl Finnigan takes a selfie with pupils from Westoe Crown Primary School. Picture by Lee Hogan.

South Shields player Carl Finnigan takes a selfie with pupils from Westoe Crown Primary School. Picture by Lee Hogan.

South Shields player Carl Finnigan and commercial director David Mitchell visited the school on the day staff and pupils remembered Jak.

Carl was particularly close to the youngster, having coached him at several coaching camps at Mariners Park.

He made his own poppy in tribute to Jak.

Mr Price added: “The community really came together for this, and we were overwhelmed by people’s generosity.

South Shields FC player Carl Finnigan makes his own poppy in memory of Jak Fada.

South Shields FC player Carl Finnigan makes his own poppy in memory of Jak Fada.

“It was really nice of South Shields FC to send representatives, including player Carl Finnigan, who coached Jak.

“That really thrilled the children.

“We’re over the moon that they spent some time in the school and even made a poppy.

“It was a really nice touch.”

Representatives of Muddy Fingers Pottery visited the school to give a helping hand with the creation of the poppies, and they also subsidised the cost of many of them.

Less than a month after Jak died, his mum, Ashley Tomlin, also tragically passed away after herself suffering a ruptured heart artery.