A 15-year-old girl has died after she collapsed while playing in a football match.
The teenager, named locally as Melissa Smith, fell to the ground just before half-time in an under-16s girls game in Euxton, Lancashire, on Sunday.
Attempts were made to revive the youngster who was later pronounced dead at Royal Preston Hospital.
Melissa, from Penwortham, was playing for Cadley FC in an away fixture at Euxton Girls.
In a statement, 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.’
Euxton Girls said a defibrillator and CPR were used by match officials at the scene before an ambulance arrived shortly after.
Club coach Mick Walsh said: ‘It happened just before half-time. There was nobody around the girl at the time but she suddenly fell to the ground between the halfway line and the penalty box.
‘We got the defibrillator and tried CPR while the ambulance was called.
‘We all hoped and prayed that she’d make a full recovery but it was to no avail.
‘Our thoughts are with Cadley FC and the family. I’ve been involved in football for 40 years and nothing like this has happened before – and I hope it never happens again.’
A post-mortem examination will take place to establish the cause of death.
Tributes were paid to Melissa on Cadley FC’s Facebook page, including many from local amateur football teams.
Paul Smith said: ‘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’
Nichola Mason posted: ‘Good night, god bless Mel. Thought and prayers with your family, friends and teammates. Heaven has a gained a footballing angel. Sweet dreams xxxx’, while Kay Robson said: ‘
Such devastating news. As parents we all go out every weekend to support our children playing the game they love and never imagine something as tragic and heartbreaking as this. Our hearts and thoughts are with the family and team. R.I.P. xxx’