Football tribute to tragic Natalia

Natalia Wiley
Natalia Wiley

FRIENDS of Pickering teenager Natalia Wiley are raising money to create a permanent memorial to her.

The 15-year-old tragically died in a car accident on the A170 between Snainton and Ebberston in January.

A special football match has now been organised to raise money for the memorial, which it is hoped will be created in Pickering.

The fundraising drive has the support of Natalia’s family.

As well as the memorial, it is hoped that some of the funds raised will be donated to a children’s charity.

Tony Chopping is manager of the Pickering Town under 16s team, who will be playing against their dads and other volunteers in the tribute match.

He said the members of his team all knew Natalia, and had been devastated by her death.

He added: “They wanted to do something positive so I came up with the idea of a memorial match to raise money and the response has been amazing.”

A raffle and disco will be held after the game, again with the goal of raising money.

Pindar and McCain in Scarborough have donated raffle prizes, as have a host of businesses in the Pickering area.

“The aim is to have a fun day while doing something positive to remember Natalia,” Mr Chopping added.

“My daughter knew her from youth club and she was a very popular girl who a lot of people knew and were fond of.

“Lots of families and friends of Natalia have already said they are coming along and I hope, if it is successful, it can become an annual event for everyone to enjoy as well as remembering Natalia.”

In the wake of Natalia’s death, thousands joined tribute groups on Facebook and others left moving tributes at the accident scene.

Natalia’s stepfather Chris is hoping to take part in the football match and is grateful for support the family have received.

“Natalia’s death totally devastated us and so many people have come up to us to say nice things about her,” he said.

“The teenagers coming together to organise this is such a positive thing and it has given us something to focus on to help us out as a family.”

The football match will take place at the Recreation Ground in Pickering on Saturday March 26. Kick-off is at 7.30pm.

There is no admission charge and volunteers will be collecting donations on the night.