The town’s football and boxing communities have this week shed a tear at the passing of Enrik Rrukaj.
Nineteen-year-old Enrik died last Friday as a result of injuries suffered in a car crash on the A21 the previous Sunday night.
Enrik, a former pupil at The Grove, was a regular in the St Leonards Social team which is bidding for a third consecutive East Sussex Football League title over the past two seasons.
Social chairman Charles Amstad said: “He was a very intelligent footballer and he was a rising star amongst our group of players. He was the sort of tenacious player that would get under the skin of his opponents for all the right reasons.”
Social postponed their match against Wadhurst United last weekend and instead held a gathering. A minute’s silence was observed in the game involving title rivals Hollington United and the next day’s PCM Hastings & East Sussex Sunday League Demarco Cup final.
Enrik was a member of West Hill Boxing Club for three years until 2009, reaching the quarter-finals of the national Junior Novice Championships and performing well against national champion James ‘Sid’ Smith. He also scooped West Hill’s junior club boy award - the Johnny Gray Shield - in 2008.
West Hill head coach Dave Bishop said: “He was an accomplished boxer, he was very good. He was a joy to have up the gym and he just did the club proud. All the boys are upset. There weren’t many youngsters at the gym on Monday night, they’re all affected by it.”
A minute’s silence was held in memory of Enrik during the gathering of the town’s greatest ever boxers at the Silverhill Club on Saturday night.
The full article will appear in tomorrow’s Hastings Observer.