South Molton Rugby Club has handed over more than £4,000 to the charity MIND in memory of their former team-mate.
In an emotional event on Saturday, players at the club presented the family of Elliott Griffin, who died aged 21 on October 24 last year, with his retired number 14 shirt.
Elliott’s parents Joe and Cathy then hung the framed shirt on the wall, where first team captain Ben Gatehouse said it would hang ‘as long as the club is here’.
The club also handed over a cheque for £4,058.85 to mental health charity MIND, which was raised through doing Movember as well as a charity car wash organised by juniors at the club.
Ben said: “We’ve had a successful season on the pitch so far this year, winning the Dave Butt Cup in October and being top of the league.
“But as hard as it is to say, there’s another player that’s not here today that lifted that trophy with us.
“Elliott’s death has had a real impact on the whole club; he was the life and soul.
“His parents Joe and Cathy decided to give money to MIND at Elliott’s funeral and as a club we wanted to do something as well.”
During November, members of the rugby club grew moustaches in return for sponsorship.
“The juniors couldn’t grow moustaches to they organised a charity car wash at one of the matches,” said Ben.
“Ollie Stephens is the ball boy for the first team games and he got to know Elliott really well.
“He was hit really hard by it, and wanted to something; he organised the car wash and in total they raised around £1,500.”
Elliott, known fondly by his team-mates as ‘Effel’, lived in Tiverton and had only joined the club in recent months.
Elliott’s father Joe said: “We’re absolutely blown away by what South Molton have done for us.
“It’s humbling really; Elliott was only here a short while but he had been totally accepted into the family. We’re all devasted.”
Elliott’s mum Cathy said: “I think it has probably hit home to a lot of people here. Elliott was just a normal guy.”
Joe added: “I hope this brings home to everyone that any guy can talk to anyone; Elliott hadn’t spoken to anyone.
“If just one person speaks to someone if they are feeling low, that is something positive.”