Sussex

Tributes after Barns Green level crossing deaths

Will Hallett with his grandfather, Barry Hearnshaw Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Will Hallett and his grandfather Barry Hearnshaw died at the scene of the crash

A teenage boy who died alongside his grandfather when their car was hit by a train was a "high grade achiever", his family says.

Will Hallett, 15, and Barry Hearnshaw, 72, died at a level crossing on Saturday.

Police and rail investigators are still working to establish how the crash happened at Barns Green, West Sussex.

Their family said Will was handsome, intelligent and a talented footballer who "idolised Chelsea".

"One thing this tragedy has proved to us is how popular and loved he was within our beautiful village of Barns Green and at Tanbridge House School.

"He was an intelligent, high grade achiever, who aspired to be an airline pilot," they said.

Mr Hearnshaw "gave so much to so many people - we know his passing will be a great loss", his family said in a statement.

"He devoted his life to improving the lives of so many through his work and before his retirement he fulfilled his dream of becoming headmaster."

'Role model'

Jules White, principal of Tanbridge House School in Horsham, said Will was a "wonderful person".

He said: "He was universally popular and always showed the very best qualities of being kind, generous and caring."

Mr White said his pupil was highly intelligent and a model student, held in the highest regard by his peers and staff.

"Will put others before himself and is a role model for others," he added. "Our thoughts are with Will's family and friends."

Image caption People have started to lay floral tributes at the scene

Horsham Sparrows football team said Will, an under-16s team member, had made 10 appearances this season, scoring twice and being awarded player of the match on two occasions.

David Owen, Horsham Sparrows chairman, said: "Will was a highly energetic player; he really loved his football and was an integral part of his team.

"He will be deeply missed by the Sparrows family, as will his grandfather Barry, who was a passionate supporter of the team and his grandson's footballing career."

Next weekend's fixtures across the Horsham and District Youth Football League will hold a minute of silence or applause, the Sussex Football Association said.

Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption Rail accident investigators went to the scene

People have started leaving floral tributes near the scene where the pair died.

And as a service of remembrance was held in nearby Itchingfield on Sunday, lay reader Carol Shepherd said Mr Hearnshaw had been well-known in the community.

She said everybody was "reeling with the shock".

After the crash, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch was informed and has sent investigators to the scene.

No-one on the train was injured in the collision, which happened at 08:47 GMT.

Image caption Police are still working to establish how the crash happened

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