Young footballers paid tribute to a teenage team and club mate at the weekend following his tragic killing earlier in the week.

Players of both male and female teams, across all age levels, staged minute’s silences prior to matches involving Gateshead Cleveland Hall Community Football Club sides, in the wake of the death of Tomasz Oleszak.

The 14-year-old schoolboy was the victim of an alleged assault at Whitehills Nature Park, off Aycliffe Crescent, on the Springwell Estate, Gateshead, on Monday evening.

He was taken to hospital for emergency treatment, but it was in vein, as his death was confirmed the following morning.

News of the popular Polish-born boy’s death brought an outpouring of grief at Cardinal Hume Catholic School, in Gateshead, where head teacher Brendan Robson offered his and the entire school community’s sympathy and support to his family and friends.

Read more: Tomasz Oleszak: Gateshead family speak out for first time after son's death

He described Tomasz as: “A much-loved and treasured pupil.”

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Mr Robson went on: “Tomasz was a dedicated and committed young man who was the life and soul of his friendship group.

“Tomasz was charismatic and engaging, always displaying a great sense of humour.

“He was a loyal friend who others could turn to.

“As a talented footballer and wonderful team player he has been described by his friends as, ‘someone you’d always want to have on your team.’

“The staff will remember his warmth, energy and positive personality.

“He will be sorely missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

He added: “In the challenging times ahead, our priority is to do everything we can to care and support Tomasz’s family, our students, and staff who are understandably struggling to process this tragic event.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by officials at Gateshead Cleveland Hall Community Association FC, where Tomasz was a member of the Under 15 team, having last played last Sunday, less than two days before his death.

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A club statement said: “As a club we are very devastated to hear that one of our young football players has lost his life.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and anyone that knew Tomasz.”

A crowdfunding appeal was launched on the club’s Facebook site, in the hope of raising £3,000 to assist Tomasz’s family.

Fundraising organiser Paul Howson said: “Tomasz was a very kind, caring young man.

“He has brought to the UK by his parents for a better life and didn’t deserve what has happened to him.

“He was liked and loved by many.

“He was a very passionate footballer who we all had the pleasure of coaching.

“He was a much-loved member of his local community and will be sadly missed by all who loved him.

“This is every parent’s worse nightmare come true and we can’t imagine what they’re going through.”

Read more: Gateshead incident: Aycliffe Crescent residents left shocked by stabbing

Mr Howson added that he and the other coaches hoped to raise as much for the Oleszak family as possible, “at what is such a painful time for them all.”

Over the weekend the target figure had been exceeded several times over, with the fund approaching £28,000.

On Friday evening friends and club members were joined by general members of the public at a candlelit vigil held in Tomasz’s memory at Springwell Community Centre, on Lanchester Avenue.

Candles were lit in front of photographs of the teenager in a moving community tribute.

Tomasz’s mother Kamila paid an emotional tribute to her son on behalf of the family, saying he made them: “Proud to be parents.”

“Tomasz was an amazing son, a kind and caring role model to his little brother and a great friend to so many.

"As a family we are devastated beyond words.

“He was a talented, smart young man and a brilliant footballer. He had so much potential and his whole life ahead of him. He made us so proud to be his parents.

“We will never stop loving him. The hole left in our lives can never be filled. Our world has changed forever.

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“But even in our darkest days, the community has helped us see just a little bit of light.

“We are completely blown away by the support and kindness that has been shown to our family."

She added: “We also want to thank Northumbria Police for their support. We are eternally grateful.

“Thank you so much to all of Tomasz’s friends, our neighbours and everyone for their love and generosity. 

“We request that people continue to give us the space we need to grieve.”

Earlier on Friday a teenager arrested on suspicion of the killing of Tomasz appeared before Newcastle Magistrates’ Court charged with his murder,

No charges were put to the 14-year-old defendant and he was remanded into the care of the local authority to appear at Newcastle Crown Court today (MondayOctober 10).

Read next:

               Boy, 14, charged with murder of Tomasz Oleszak

               Tomasz Oleszak: Boy, 14, charged with murder appears in Newcastle Magistrates' Court

               Gateshead football coach pays tribute to Tomasz Oleszak after stabbing

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