Hampstead football tournament held in name of tragically killed UCS schoolboy Medi

Medi's parents Mehdi Mehra and Mary-Anne Bowring with headteacher Lewis Heyward (centre) and UCS pup

Medi's parents Mehdi Mehra and Mary-Anne Bowring with headteacher Lewis Heyward (centre) and UCS pupils. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A football-mad schoolboy tragically killed in a freak horseriding accident is to be remembered for decades to come following the launch of an annual sports tournament in his name.

Medi Mehra died in a freak accident while taking horses out to pasture

Medi Mehra died in a freak accident while taking horses out to pasture - Credit: Archant

Popular University College School (UCS) pupil Medi Mehra, pictured below, had just turned 11 when he fell to his death from the horse he was riding at a polo club in Oxford in July last year.

The Hampstead school has now cemented his place in its history by hosting a new under-9s football tournament, where teams from across north London vie to win the magnificent Medi Mehra Memorial Cup.

Medi’s mother Mary-Anne Bowring, who was guest of honour at the first tournament on Thursday, said: “Football was absolutely one of Medi’s passions.

“At the school, they have a cup for an old UCS pupil who died in the First World War, and it’s still there 100 years on.

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“It would be nice to think Medi’s cup will still be there in 100 years’ time as well.”

The contest will be held every year to support the work of Medi’s parents, of Maida Vale, who have launched a charity in his memory to raise money for the provision of safe drinking water and education to impoverished children in Ethiopia.

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Medi had been a diligent pen-pal to two children in Ethiopia, and it was a dream of his to visit them in their country one day. Mrs Bowring, who runs successful Kentish Town property firm Ringley Group with husband and Medi’s father Mehdi Mehra, said: “The charity is fulfilling a promise I made to Medi.”

She added: “I set a target of helping 1,000 people because saving 1,000 people seemed a fair sacrifice. But now we’ll be helping 18,000.”

The MediOliver Foundation is trying to raise £138,000 for the impoverished village of one of Medi’s two pen-pals -– a boy named Bekalu. The money will fund the provision of safe drinking water for the entire village, including its health centre and primary school, for the first time in its history.

Even at the tender age of 11, Medi had been an enthusiastic and dedicated fundraiser for years.

His philanthropic commitments included a 15-mile walk for charity Water Aid aged just eight, as well as countless bake sales.

Mrs Bowring said: “His kindness and compassion shines through. He was my best friend.”

Medi, who was in the school’s football ‘A-team’, spent three happy years at the UCS junior branch in Holly Hill. He was looking forward to joining the Frognal senior school last September.

A memorial service for Medi was held at the school last year, in which UCS chair of governors Sir Brian Leveson praised the pupil’s “emotional intelligence”.

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