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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2007, 19:14 GMT 20:14 UK
Tributes to talented footballer
Stewart Vaughan (pictured left)
Stewart Vaughan died after suffering from skin cancer
Tributes have been paid to a talented footballer who has died of cancer just five weeks after getting married.

Stewart Vaughan, 28, who captained Dorking FC in Surrey, passed away on Sunday evening after suffering from an aggressive form of skin cancer.

The football club dedicated a charity football match against Crystal Palace on Tuesday to his memory.

Mr Vaughan, of Purley, brought forward his wedding to Heidi Cook when doctors gave him just six months to live.

Conflicting emotions

She said in a statement on a website created for people to keep track of the fundraising progress: "Words cannot describe the pain I feel losing Stewart. I have lost the best thing in my life.

"Stew was peaceful, he wasn't in pain and he had all the people closest to him around his bed.

"Knowing Stewart isn't suffering anymore and is now resting is comforting," she added.

About 1,200 people attended the benefit match between Dorking FC and Crystal Palace, which raised about 4,250 for cancer sufferers and Mr Vaughan's family.

Assistant manager Andy Lunn said the match, which they lost 5-1, was full of conflicting emotions.

He added: "It was very difficult for us to play with so much emotion flying around.

"But it was a night that Stewart would have loved - a professional team coming down to play for his benefit.

"He was a guy that was so courageous. He was a tremendous person and it has been a privilege to have known the guy."

Memorial tournament

Mr Vaughan, who was described as being able to excel in any position, also played for Chelsea Schoolboys, Croydon Athletic, Corinthian Casuals and Spalding United.

He played football for the last time during a benefit match against Portsmouth about a month ago, which raised more than 9,500 for charity.

Dorking FC plan to stage an annual pre-season tournament between the clubs Mr Vaughan played for as a way of honouring his memory and raising funds for charity and the team.


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