Blackpool FC Community Trust column: Our tribute to a former student
On Saturday, August 29, I sat down at Bloomfield Road with the family of one of our former degree students, Louis O’Neill.
This meeting came in extremely sad circumstances.
We met the day before what would have been his 25th birthday but Louis had passed away on June 3 because of a blood clot (DVT) that had formed in his leg and travelled to his heart.
Louis had completed our Foundation Degree a few years earlier, delivered in partnership with the EFL Trust and the University of South Wales.
He had made a great impact on a number of our team because of his dedication and pride in being involved with the Community Trust.
He had also done many hours of volunteering in local schools as part of our Premier League Primary Stars programme.
Louis had also been a past participant on our Kicks programme, predominantly at our Revoe site.
Since finishing his qualification, Louis moved down south to live with his father Stanley, stepmum and his young sister, who he was very close to, and to be closer to his mum, Lesley.
Louis had got a job at Center Parcs, continued to be active and a regular gymgoer, as well as playing video games and keeping in contact with friends online.
Once the pandemic hit, Louis had been furloughed and spent more time at home and online, meaning he became less active than usual.
He started to develop a pain in his leg, which became a blood clot and eventually caused this tragic passing.
A number of my team, both past and present, have been in contact with Louis’ father, Stanley to share stories of our experiences with his son, and also to support in the development of a legacy project he is leading; ‘Stand Up For Louis’.
We want to make all young people aware of how important it is to remain active and not live a sedentary life, but also to make sure none of us stay in an inactive position for too many hours at the same time.
With more of us playing video games, watching TV, chatting to friends online or having to work from home, it becomes too easy to not stand up and move around after a few hours, so let’s all use this tragic story to learn from and make sure we ‘Stand Up for Louis’ and keep ourselves fit and healthy.
We will be honouring Louis by developing information boards around our education facilities and also delivering talks with our own BTEC, Degree and NCS students to start with.
We will work with the family to make as many people as possible aware of this story and how it can happen to anyone.
To learn more, please visit www.standupforlouis.org