Sam Harding: Stockport footballer & Ashton Athletic player dies after collision at car meet in Warrington

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Tributes have been paid to the 20-year-old former England schoolboy international.

A man has been arrested after a young footballer died after being struck by a car in Warrington over the weekend.

Sam Harding, 20, was hit by an Audi S3 at a car ‘meet’ on an industrial estate at Kingsland Grange, Woolston, at 9.40pm on Sunday night. He was taken to Warrington District Hospital but later died.

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Sam, from Stockport, played for the North West Counties Football League (NWCFL) team Ashton Athletic, based in Ashton-in-Makerfield near Wigan.

A 21-year-old man from Morley, Leeds, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Sam Harding of Stockport played for Ashton Athletic FC  Credit: Cheshire police/ familySam Harding of Stockport played for Ashton Athletic FC  Credit: Cheshire police/ family
Sam Harding of Stockport played for Ashton Athletic FC Credit: Cheshire police/ family | cops

Tributes to Sam Harding

Sam’s family said: “Our beautiful son was tragically taken away from us on Sunday.

“A much loved son, brother, grandson, nephew and friend to many. We will never ever forget you Sam and will love you forever. Rest in peace sweet angel, love Mum, Dad and Amy.”

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Many people from Sam’s team and former teams have also paid tributes. His team-mates have started a GoFundMe page to support Sam’s family.

Ashton Athletic FC tweeted: “Ashton Athletic are devastated to hear the news of the passing of 2021/22 first team player Sam Harding.

“Sam was only at our club for one season and was a huge factor in our improved form since his arrival. He was a quiet, well-mannered young man and he will be sorely missed by everyone at the club. All our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this terrible time. RIP Sam.”

His former club, FC United of Manchester, also paid tribute to the talented player. Their Academy manager Tom Conroy said: “Technically Sam was one of the best academy players we have ever had and that was proven when he was successful in England schoolboy trials earning caps for his country.

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“Sam is always spoken about to future academy players as a perfect example of the type of player we want at the club not only with regards to the standard of footballing ability but the type of person he was – kind, polite, hard working and professional.

“He will be sadly missed and I would like to pass my love and condolences to Sam’s family.”

What have Cheshire Police said?

Cheshire Police are appealing for any witnesses and video footage from Sunday.

Sergeant Simon Degg, from the Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Inquiries in relation to this incident are in the early stages and we are committed to doing everything we can to establish what has taken place.

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“We know that there were a large number of people present at the ‘car meet’ and as part of our investigation we are keen to hear from anyone who witnessed the collision.

“The same goes for anyone with any video footage from the event – both of the collision itself and before and after the incident.

“I’d urge anyone with any information, no matter how small, to get in touch.”

  • Anyone with any information or video footage should contact Cheshire Police via their website here or phone 101, quoting reference IML 1242714.

Information can also be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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