‘Keep Smiling’ message celebrates Fakenham’s Craig, 18

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It’s full steam ahead for fundraising plans as the family of an 18-year-old Fakenham rugby player set up a charity to preserve his memory and create a legacy.

Craig Prior died suddenly two weeks ago leaving family and friends devastated but determined to fulfil his dreams of raising enough to replace Fakenham Rugby Club’s scrummage machine.

Wristbands for the Craig Prior Memorial Fund have now arrived, all carrying the words “keep smiling” in his memory. These are on sale in Fakenham’s Barclay’s Bank, who are also accepting donations to the charity, Sugar & Spice and Beth’s Hair Salon.

On March 9, the fundraising kicks off with a memorial rugby match at Fakenham Rugby Club, with players from Norfolk, Suffolk and across East Anglia joining forces.

Clubs across the area have been holding a minute of silence or applause to remember Craig at matches. At Fakenham Rugby Club, Craig’s kit is to remain hanging at his spot in the changing room until the end of the season.

His family also received a letter from the Rugby Football Union expressing their condolences. His older brother, Roger said: “It’s overwhelming for us as a family, but so comforting to know that Craig meant as much to others as he did to us.

“They say communities only come together in times of hardship, but it’s nice to know that Craig was the glue. He’s inspired a whole community to fundraise in his memory to achieve something in his name. I think that’s a lovely tribute.”

Fakenham High School is naming its sports personality of the year award after Craig.

Roger said: “He put 110 percent into everything and was such a likeable chap, they thought it was important to celebrate his personality.”

He added: “It’s phenomenal - if I do 20 percent of what he has achieved in his life, I will be a happy man. He did so much in his short life and he probably never realised how much.”

Go to www.craigprior
memorialfund.co.uk for more information.