Dylan Tombides received an emotion-charged farewell at an incredibly moving memorial service this afternoon .
www.whufc.com reported that more than 200 mourners, led by the late striker’s parents Tracylee and Jim and brother Taylor, attended the service at St Paul’s Church in Woodford Bridge.
David Gold and Karren Brady represented the Board, while manager Sam Allardyce, his staff, the first-team squad, Development Squad and Academy scholars all turned out to pay their respects to Dylan, who died on Good Friday following a three-year battle with cancer.
Club chaplain Rev Alan Bolding led the service and told all of telling Dylan’s family, friends, current and former team-mates and colleagues about a ‘talented footballer, lovable, fun-loving and courageous boy’.
Academy Director Tony Carr MBE, also spoke glowingly of a player who shone brightly throughout his five years with the Club.
He said: “Dylan flourished in the environment of football.It was never a problem and he grasped his opportunity enthusiastically. He literally lived for football.
“To lose Dylan so young just seems so unfair. There are no words to describe this tragic loss. We will all miss you Dylan, and you will forever be in all of our thoughts.”
The forward’s former U16s, U18s and current Development Squad manager Nick Haycock talked of the No38’s outstanding all-round talent on the pitch and inspiring approach to life off it.
Club Medical Officer Dr Richard Weiler and physiotherapist Jon Urwin, who both became close to Dylan during his treatment, spoke warmly of his relentlessly positive attitude, love of life, rare sense of humour and unique dress sense.
It was then the turn of the team-mates Dylan grew up with at West Ham, a number of whom acted as pall-bearers, to speak with respect and love for their late friend in a series of moving video messages.
To complete a service that gave Dylan the send-off he so richly deserved, the mourners also listened intently to poignant songs chosen by his family before singing the traditional football hymn ‘Abide with me’ and a specially-adapted version of ‘Bubbles’.
Outside the packed church, a group of around 50 supporters formed to listen to the service on speakers.
Following the service, a wake was held at the Boleyn Ground, where the 20-year-old made his first-team debut for West Ham in September 2012.
The thoughts and sincere condolences of everyone associated with West Ham United remain with Dylan’s family and friends at this sad time.