by Sarah Shaffi
Family and friends of a teenager who died after falling into the River Medway took part in a football match in his memory.
Popular Sonny Pataria, 18, fell into the water while at a friend’s wedding reception at Commissioner’s House, Chatham’s Historic Dockyard, on February 11 last year.
In his memory his father Charlie, who has a tattoo of Sonny on his leg, worked with the police to set up the Sonny P Trophy.
A minute’s silence was held before Saturday’s match, which saw Medway Police XI triumph 5-2 over Sonny’s family and friends.
Mr Pataria, who lives in Northfleet, said: “Sonny loved football so this was the perfect way to remember him.
“We’re planning on running this every year and we’ll always play against the police team.
“Hopefully next year we’ll win.”
Although the match at the Woodlands Youth Centre, Gillingham, was nine-a-side, 27 people turned up to play on the Sonny P team.
Many of the players wore maroon shirts with R.I.P Sonny on the front and the number 17 on the back.
Sonny’s sister Yasmin, from Gillingham, wore a Liverpool football shirt her brother’s name written in white on the back.
The 16-year-old, who goes to the Thomas Aveling school in Rochester, said: “It’s amazing how many people turned up, I can’t believe it.
“It’s nice that everyone’s here. Sonny loved football and supported Liverpool. He would have loved to see everyone here enjoying themselves.
“He’s made us so proud.”
Sonny, who celebrated his 18th birthday days before he died, was a midfield with Spartac under-18s football club and a member of the Woodlands Youth Centre.
A memorial garden has been established in the grounds at the centre, where members and family can go to reflect.