Tributes are being paid to a 20-year-old footballer who was killed after being hit by a car in Cheshire. Sam Harding was hit by an Audi A3 during a “car encounter” in an industrial estate in Warrington on Sunday evening (April 10).
A 21-year-old man from Morley, Leeds, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He has since been released under investigation pending further investigation.
Sam, a midfielder who played non-league football FC United, Runcorn Linnets, Glossop North End and Ashton Athletic, previously represented England Schoolboys, MEN report.
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Jimmy Whyte, chairman of Ashton Athletic at Wigan, said: “Ashton Athletic is devastated to hear the news of the passing of 2021/22 first-team player Sam Harding. Sam was only with our club for one season and has been a huge factor in our improved form since arriving.
“He is a calm, well-mannered young man and will be greatly missed by everyone at the club. All our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this terrible time.”
FC United academy director Tom Conroy said: “I worked with Sam at our academy for two years during which he proved to be a very good central midfielder playing week in and week out for the youth team, before training and making appearances for our first team. Technically, Sam was one of the best academy players we’ve ever had, and that was proven when he succeeded in schoolboy trials in England, winning selections for his country.
“He was a very polite lad and a pleasure to coach. Not only did his footballing abilities shine, but his attitude, work rate and professionalism on and off the pitch were always exemplary, and he was a great role model for his peers.Sam would seem quite calm in and around the lads, but it was clear that he was a very popular and well-liked lad in the academy with his team-mates and FC United staff.
“Sam is always spoken to by future academy players as a perfect example of the type of player we want at the club, not just in terms of the level of footballing ability, but the type of person he was – nice , polite, hardworking and professional He will be greatly missed and I would like to send my love and condolences to Sam’s family.”
Runcorn Linnets FC said: “We are deeply saddened to hear the tragic news that Sam Harding unfortunately lost his life in a car accident yesterday. Sam made a few appearances for the club at the start of the season. We would like to offer to our condolences to Sam’s family and friends.”
Prescot Cables FC said: “The club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sam Harding, who was killed in a car accident last night. Sam made several appearances for Prescot Cables during the 2019-20 season. Our thoughts are with his friends, former teammates and family at this time. RIP Sam.”
Sam has also represented England Schoolboys at Under-18 level. In 2019 he featured in a special set of England Schoolboys Panini digital stickers.
In a tribute posted earlier, Sam’s family said: ‘Our beautiful son was tragically taken from us on Sunday April 10, 2022. A much loved son, brother, grandson, nephew and friend to many. We will never forget you Sam and we will love you forever. Rest in peace sweet angel, love mom, dad and Amy xx.
Police are appealing for witnesses and video footage of the incident which happened around 9.40pm at Kingsland Grange. They say a “large number” of people were at the car meet – events where large numbers of car enthusiasts come together.
Sergeant Simon Degg, of Cheshire Police’s Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit, said: ‘Investigations into this incident are at an early stage and we are committed to doing all we can to establish this We know there were a large number of people present at the “car encounter” and as part of our investigation, we are eager to hear from any witnesses to the collision.
“The same goes for anyone with video footage of the event – both of the collision itself and before and after the incident. I urge anyone with information, no matter how small them, to contact me.”
Anyone with information or video footage that could help the investigation is asked to contact Cheshire Police here or on 101, quoting IML 1242714.
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