Tributes to 'kind' Ellesmere College rugby player

Matthew Dewhirst
Image caption Matthew Dewhirst was described as a "true gentleman"

A young rugby player from Shropshire who died during a training session was kind-hearted and excelled at sport and music, his parents and school said.

Matthew Dewhirst, 17, collapsed while taking part in an external fitness course at Ellesmere College on 19 July.

James Baggaley, his housemaster at Ellesmere, said: "He had a kind heart and was a well-respected young man."

Matthew's parents Sue and Chris said: "Matthew was an only child who was accomplished in many ways."

He played rugby for Whitchurch Rugby Football Club and was Junior Footballer of the Year for the South Cheshire League.

'True gentleman'

A statement from Matthew's parents added: "He represented his school at football, cricket and his beloved rugby.

"As well as being an accomplished sportsman he was a great musician, playing saxophone, clarinet, piano and classical guitar.

"He was an active member of the Ellesmere College Orchestra and also sang in the chapel choir."

Mr Baggaley added: "He had many friends with whom he shared his love of music and sport. The whole house is deeply saddened by the loss of such a true gentleman."

Ellesmere College said Matthew had been at the school since he was aged eight.

"Matthew Dewhirst's presence in both the upper sixth form and the school as a whole will be deeply missed," it said.

Matthew's funeral will take place at the school's chapel at a date to be confirmed and his parents extended an invitation to "everyone who knew him over his 17 years of very active life".

Participants who were on the fitness course and Matthew's school friends have been offered counselling.

The school's chapel has become the focal point for his friends and their families "to seek comfort from each other at this sad time", Ellesmere College added.

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