Friends, family, and former teammates gathered for the funeral of former Man City academy player Jeremy Wisten today.
Hundreds of tributes have poured in for the 18-year-old after the footballer’s shock death last month.
Jeremy, an extremely talented player, had until May 2019 been part of the Manchester City academy.
He was tragically found unresponsive at the family home in Wythenshawe on October 26, and despite the best efforts of medics he could not be saved.
On Friday morning, hundreds of people gathered outside St George’s Church in Altrincham to pay their final respects to the popular teenager.
The sun shone as one by one friends and fellow academy players of Jeremy arrived at the funeral, many bearing bouquets of flowers.
Dozens of the footballer’s friends wore t-shirts or jumpers with a picture of Jeremy, and the words “Rest in Peace”, and “fly boy, flight high.”
Crowds fell silent as the cortege arrived, followed by Jeremy’s family, who were travelling behind in limousines having set off from the family home in Wythenshawe.
A funeral wreath spelling “Jeremy” could be seen next to the coffin, which was carried into the church by a group of young men, thought to be Jeremy’s friends.
Scores of people waited outside as the ceremony commenced, with friends and teammates allowed to go into the church in small groups to pay their respects.
The funeral procession left the church for southern cemetery, where an intimate burial ceremony was due to take place this afternoon.
Jeremy’s heartbroken parents have announced that money raised in a fundraiser set up in his memory, will be donated to mental health charity Sporting Minds UK.
His father Manila, 53, and mother, Grace Wisten, 46, said they “couldn’t have asked for a better son” and that they will “miss him so much.”
Speaking to the M.E.N previously, Manila said: “We are very saddened and shocked by our son’s death. “We love him and always will love him. “He was a very happy boy who was taken away too soon.
“He was very friendly and always smiling. He loved football and was aiming for a career in the game.
“He was very popular at Manchester City, at school and with his friends. Not just here but also in his homeland in Malawi.”
“We have been inundated with messages from different types of people we would not expect to hear from” he added.
“We are very grateful for that and it has helped us to cope. But it is still so difficult to understand how we came to be in this situation.”
Jeremy, who turned 18 last month and who has two older sisters, came to the UK from Malawi with his family in 2003 when he was just a baby, living in Trafford before moving to Wythenshawe three years ago.
He attended Altrincham Church of England Primary School and Wellington high school in Timperley before later moving to St Bede’s College in south Manchester.
His family said the United supporting teenager, who was a centre-back but could play across the defence, played for Altrincham FC and De La Salle FC in Salford before becoming part of City’s Elite Squad at under-13 level in 2016.
Jeremy’s parents said a knee ligament injury derailed his progress and meant he was unable to move up to the next level at the academy.
He tried for other clubs, but due to not haven played for a long period of time, this proved very difficult, his parents said.
They said it was not immediately obvious to them that their son was suffering with any mental health difficulties.
And they are now calling for more mental health education for parents as well as more mental health support for young people, both in the education system and in football.
In a statement, Man City said: “The Manchester City family are saddened to learn of the passing of former Academy player Jeremy Wisten.
“We send our deepest condolences to his friends and family. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time.”
Former academy teammates Tommy Doyle, Liam Delap and Cole Palmer, who have now made their first team debuts, joined established stars Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte in paying tribute to the youngster.
City legend Vincent Kompany tweeted saying: “Very saddened to hear about the passing of Jeremy Wisten. My thoughts are with his family and friends. This is truly devastating news. RIP Jeremy.”
A crowdfunding campaign raising for money for his family has already raised nearly £20,000.