Colts’ Andrew accepts football award in memory of Alyshia

Andrew Boateng receives trophy in memory of Alysha Balfour, with  Colts treasurer John Anderson and Alysha's mother Karen Brady (FPA Walter Neilson)
Andrew Boateng receives trophy in memory of Alysha Balfour, with Colts treasurer John Anderson and Alysha's mother Karen Brady (FPA Walter Neilson)

A Kirkcaldy football team has once again honoured the memory of a young girl who lost her life in a road accident near their home ground.

Kirkcaldy YM Colts FC, while rewarding its player of the year each season, also arranges for a second accolade to be given out.

Relatives of nine-year-old Alyshia Balfour, who passed away in July 2001, are there to present a commemorative shield in her memory.

This year, 15 years on from the tragedy, young Andrew Boateng was the player who received the accolades from his seven-a-side team mates, and Alyshia’s family, at a gathering on Tuesday evening.

Alysha lost her brave fight for life in Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital, nine days after the accident with a car, which occurred while she was crossing the road at Valley Gardens.

Her family later arranged for a small remembrance cairn to be constructed.

The memorial is right at the access to the park, opposite Valley View, where many local children go to play, and is a constant reminder to them to think about the potential hazards of the road.

Colin Lafferty, a previous secretary of Kirkcaldy YM Colts Soccer Sevens, came up with the idea of the Alyshia Balfour Memorial Shield.

It is now given each year to the young Kirkcaldy YM Colts FC player, based at Valley Gardens playing fields, reckoned to be the most hard working and deserving of the accolade.

John Anderson, club treasurer, said: “Alyshia’s family looks on it as a great honour to present one of the kids with the shield and a keepsake trophy each year, as it is keeping Alyshia’s memory alive.”

John said Alyshia was on her way to watch football at the fields on the day of the accident.

“Alyshia never played football herself but her younger brother Ian played at the fields all the time and she was always along there, cheering him on,” he said.

The Colts cater for players aged around 7-11 and play from March until the end of June, followed by a spell from August until winter.

Andrew was “chuffed to bits” to receive the honour going into the mid-season break, said John, and his famliy had managed to keep it a secret from him.

The award is set to go on for years to come, while John said the club may look into the idea of playing a commemorative game as well.

“It’s a great thing for the club and for Alyshia’s memory,” he added.