YOUNGSTERS left devastated by the death of their beloved mentor are promising to behave themselves to honour his memory.

Last year teenagers in Grove Park were stunned by the death of George Burchett, who had become their "voice" in the community.

Now as Mr Burchett's legacy a new football pitch is unveiled in Corona Road, the youngsters are promising to be on their best behaviour as a tribute to their old friend.

Former lorry driver Mr Burchett, 70, spent the final years of his life working with youngsters in his community.

The grandfather-of-four organised activities for young people and held weekly meetings with them.

He also pushed their concerns with those in power and it was his drive which persuaded the council to build the new five-a-side pitch.

But weeks before the pitch was completed, Mr Burchett died after suffering an aneurysm during a weekend break.

His widow Janet says the new facility provides a fitting legacy to her late husband's work.

She said: "When George retired he worked very hard to help the kids.

"He felt we needed to do more for the youngsters around here.

"George absolutely adored the kids."

She added: "He gave them a voice and made the effort to get to know them and get onto their wavelength.

"He was just George' to them."

Dignitaries including Lew-isham Mayor Steve Bullock yesterday gathered at the pitch to unveil a memorial plaque dedicated to Mr Burchett.

Mrs Burchett, also of Corona Road, added: "He would be so proud to see what has come out of all his hard work.

"I'm sure he will be looking down from above and making sure the children are behaving themselves."

Grove Park ward councillor Mark Ingelby said: "George's vision made this whole thing possible.

"It is his legacy to the young people."

Pitching in to sign contract

YOUNGSTERS also have another reason to make sure they behave well.

The pitch can only be used by 17 children, under a so-called 4Promises agreement.

Children have to sign a contract promising good behaviour as part of the deal, which is the first of its kind in the borough.

Any breach of the contract which includes rules on graffiti, vandalism and other anti-social behaviour means they lose the right to use the pitch.

The contract system was devised by Mr Burchett, together with community organisation the Grove Park Neighbourhood Office.

Chairman William George said: "This will encourage the children to take more responsibility and it has helped us build a good relationship with them."