Tribute to Aaron

FOOTBALLERS who played alongside a midfielder who died tragically aged only 33 are to turn out in tribute to their colleague during a special memorial match.

FOOTBALLERS who played alongside a midfielder who died tragically aged only 33 are to turn out in tribute to their colleague during a special memorial match.

Former Ipswich Town and Norwich City stars could also be included in the line up for Sunday's game against AFC Sudbury, which has been arranged in remembrance of Aaron Gardiner.

Mr Gardiner, a popular midfielder with AFC Sudbury, collapsed and died at his Ipswich home on July 21 following a pre-season training run.

His death left his family, friends and team-mates devastated, and stunned the region's footballing community.


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Now, his former team-mates are to turn out in the 33-year-old's memory – although the final line-ups will not be confirmed until today.

AFC Sudbury manager Gary Harvey said the match would provide a fitting tribute to a much-loved player who dedicated the majority of his life to the game.

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"Generally there should be some fairly well-known names from past football playing," he said. "Some of Aaron's former team mates will also be on the pitch."

Hundreds of mourners paid tribute to Mr Gardiner last Friday, when his funeral was held in Long Melford.

Scores of people lined the streets of Sudbury with heads bowed as a large funeral cortege passed through the town where the father-of-three grew up.

Mr Gardiner, who turned out for AFC Sudbury against Brigg Town in the 2003 FA Vase Final, had recently got engaged to 23-year-old Jo Andrews.

He also leaves three daughters from a previous relationship, Georgia, 10, Charleigh, eight and six-year-old Genna.

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