Charlton Athletic unveil a memorial garden to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the drowning of Pierre Bolangi
PUBLISHED: 17:13 12 August 2010
A football club marked the 10th anniversary of the drowning of a promising young player by unveiling a memorial garden at the club's training ground.
Pierre Bolangi, 17, drowned on August 9, 2000, in a weed-infested pond during an endurance exercise as part of a five-day residential course in Aldershot, Hampshire, for members of the Charlton Athletic youth team.
Mr Bolangi, who was staying at the army school of physical training in Aldershot, was instructed to cross the pond but was out of his depth. Unable to swim, he drowned.
The memorial garden containing a specially commissioned bronze bust of the teen was unveiled on Friday at the Sparrow Lane training ground.
Charlton club chaplain, Matt Baker said: “Ten years on and the vast majority of those who knew Pierre have moved on.
“But their lives will have been touched in some way by his sad and premature death.
“I am pleased that we have been able to institute this memorial garden at the training ground as a tribute to Pierre at a place which will be used by current and future players and staff.”
The Charlton Community Trust worked in partnership with the Prince’s Trust to create the memorial garden.
In July 2002 a former army staff sergeant who was instructing the training course was found guilty of Mr Bolangi’s manslaughter by gross negligence and fined £1,500.
On a facebook tribute page set up two years ago, his friend, Yohance Raphael Lewis wrote: “ I was in the same Charlton youth team with Bolangi and was there the day he died.
“He was such a strong person with great character! Love you bro and will never ever forget you.”