Hundreds attend memorial service for AFC Wembley footballer Alex Stephens

The balloons were released in the air simultaneously (Pic credit: Angela Blake)

The balloons were released in the air simultaneously (Pic credit: Angela Blake) - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of mourners attended the memorial service today of a footballer from Willesden who died while on holiday in Spain.

The balloons were released in the air simultaneously (Pic credit: Angela Blake)

The balloons were released in the air simultaneously (Pic credit: Angela Blake) - Credit: Archant

Family, friends and work colleagues of Alex Stephens said a sad goodbye to the popular sportsman at St Andrews Church in High Road, Willesden.

The 21-year-old player for AFC Wembley died after falling from a height in Barcelona last Wednesday.

Mourners included Mr Stephens' former team mates at Watford FC (Pic credit: Angela Blake)

Mourners included Mr Stephens' former team mates at Watford FC (Pic credit: Angela Blake) - Credit: Archant

Mr Stephens, who lived in Hawthorn Road, also worked part-time in Marks & Spencer in Kilburn and was studying plumbing at the College of North West London in Willesden.

His family flew out to Spain where his cremation took place last week.

Alex Stephens died while on holiday in Spain (Pic credit: Action Images)

Alex Stephens died while on holiday in Spain (Pic credit: Action Images) - Credit: Archant

Around 300 people carrying balloons filled the church, which was where Mr Stephens’ baptism took place in April 1993.

After the service they released the balloons in the air in an emotional farewell gesture.

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Before Mr Stephens, who has two older sisters Ashley and Charly, joined AFC Wembley he had played for youth clubs in the borough including St Andrews and Springfield.

He signed for Watford and went on to play as a left-back at Norwich City academy from 2009 to 2011.

His sudden death shocked the grassroots football community including Tajean Hutton, the son of AFC Wembley co-founder Trevor Hutton, who died from coronary heart disease on April 30 at the age of 52.

He said: “He was a quiet and humble man and will be sorely missed.”

Michael Edghill, manager of AFC Wembley’s first team, said: “We are all upset with the news about Alex’s death. He was popular and helped the team to progress as he was one of our better players.

“This is very sad and he will be greatly missed.”

Andrew and Faye Stephens, his heartbroken parents, told the Times: “Life will never be the same for any of us again.

“Alex is now an angel who shines as the brightest star in the sky.”

Related link: AFC Wembley football club player Alex Stephens dies at the age of 21

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