Girl, 15, dies after Euxton football match collapse

Melissa Smith in Cadley FC shirt Image copyright Cadley FC
Image caption Melissa Smith was described as a 'fantastic leader on the pitch'

A teenage girl has died after collapsing during a football match in Lancashire.

15-year-old Melissa Smith was playing for Cadley FC in Euxton, Chorley on Sunday morning when she collapsed shortly before half-time.

She was pronounced dead at Royal Preston Hospital.

A spokesman for Cadley FC said: "We are all devastated by the news and our thoughts are with her family, friends and team mates at this sad time."

The teenager played in an under-16 league.

'Counts for nothing'

Mick Walsh, coach for Euxton Girls, who Cadley FC were playing, said: "There was nobody around the girl at the time, but she suddenly fell to the ground between the halfway line and the penalty box.

"I've been involved in football for 40 years and nothing like this has happened before and I hope it never happens again.

"Football counts for nothing at moments like this."

Teams and players have given their condolences on Twitter and Cadley FC's Facebook page.

Image copyright PNE
Image copyright Karen Alexander

Paul Farrell wrote: "Today all our hearts broke, Mel you were a fantastic leader on the pitch and a great footballer. My deepest sympathy to your family and friends and from my daughter she loved being your team mate and friend. God bless and sleep well. X"

'Shining star'

Her school said they were "heartbroken to have lost such an enthusiastic and warm-hearted girl".

Karen Pomeroy, headteacher at Penwortham Girls High School, said: "She was a shining star on stage, known for her wit and valued for her contribution to the wider life of the school. Melissa went out of her way to care for others and we will all feel her loss deeply."

Image caption The 15-year-old collapsed during a match on Sunday morning in Euxton

David Burgess, chief executive of the Lancashire Football Association, said: "We are all very sad to hear about this incident.

"Fortunately these events are few and far between, but it puts things into perspective - football is just a game."

He added they had made contact with the two clubs and offered "whatever support we can".

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