Belfast Telegraph

Rhys Jones's team-mates in pre-tournament run-out at Stormont

By John Mulgrew

The father of murdered Liverpool schoolboy Rhys Jones has arrived in Northern Ireland to launch a tournament in his late son's memory.

Stephen Jones visited Stormont yesterday with Merseyside's Fir Tree football team who are taking part in the Rhys Jones Memorial Trophy youth tournament. His late son, Rhys (11), had played for the side before he was shot in the back in his home city of Liverpool in August 2007.

Sean Mercer, aged 16 at the time of shooting, was convicted of his murder in 2008.

The Liverpool side will now face off against teams from Glentoran, Linfield and Ballymena during their visit to Northern Ireland. The tournament was set up in 2008 and every year teams from across the UK have battled it out.

Dressed in blue at Parliament Buildings yesterday, the Fir Tree team looked like naturals as they posed for the cameras. In addition to the tournament, a memorial fund dedicated to the Liverpool schoolboy was established to help raise money for a community centre to be built on the housing estate where he lived.

His father Stephen and mother Melanie had described the fund as the "the best tribute to our son we could possibly think of".

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