Football team vows to help children following the killing of team mate Luke Fitzpatrick

Luke’s Lions open its doors to youngsters to help deter them away from crime

A football club which was rocked by the death of one of its members has relaunched itself in a bid to deter hildren from crime and embrace the community.

North West Lions has started accepting youngsters and renamed itself Luke’s Lions, in honour of 25-year-old Luke Fitzpatrick who was stabbed to death in Dollis Hill earlier this year.

The roofer’s 56-year-old father Bernie was also knifed while trying to save his son.

The club, which Mr Fitzpatrick played for every week, plans to use money from Brent Council and donations from the pub near the scene of the incident, the Ox and Gate in Coles Green Road, to fund its plans.

Speaking to the Times, the club’s manager, Mark Devereux, said: “We want to branch out and help children, there’s not a lot for them to do round here at the moment.

“Obviously with what happened to Luke, it moved us to put something positive back into the community.

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“Using the football team in Luke’s honour seemed like the perfect thing to do.”

Mr Devereux, 26, who grew up in Cricklewood, plans to hold induction sessions for youngsters in Gladstone Park in the coming weeks.

He continued: “He [Luke] was the best player you could wish to have on a team and not just for his talent – he was like a brother to everyone you couldn’t have asked for a better person to be around.

“We already have Luke’s Lions but now we can have Luke’s Cubs so his memory can live on. There has been lots of interest so far, so hopefully it will be a big success.”

A motion commending Luke’s Lions was passed at Brent’s last full council meeting. Cllr Alison Hopkins, a Liberal Democrat councillor for the Dollis Hill ward where Mr Fitzpatrick lived said: “I think what they are doing is wonderful.”