Holland FC 'gentle giant' Jack Atkinson dies after collapsing on pitch

Jack Atkinson Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Jack Atkinson died after going into cardiac arrest while playing football in Holland-on-Sea

A young footballer who died after going into cardiac arrest on the pitch has been called a "gentle giant" by his club.

Jack Atkinson, 18, collapsed while playing for Holland FC in Clacton, Essex in a tournament on Sunday.

Emergency services were called to the park where the club play in Dulwich Road and Mr Atkinson was flown to Harefield Hospital, where he died.

Holland FC said he was a "well-liked and important member" of the club.

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"Jack was a great friend - honest and loyal and respected by his peers. His loss will be felt by the football community and by all his friends at the club," they added.

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Media captionParents' tribute to Jack Atkinson who 'died doing what he loved'

Football clubs across Essex have also tweeted messages of support and condolences to his family.

"Truly devastating news to hear," tweeted Stanway Rovers, while Brightlingsea Regent said on its website: "It puts things into perspective & it's times like this the football community should pull together."

The Brightlingsea club said it would have charity buckets at its next match to raise money for Mr Atkinson's family.

One of his friends, Tyler Rose, is trying to organise a round of applause to take place in the 18th minute of the Tottenham v West Ham game on Saturday.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Emergency services were called to playing fields at Dulwich Road, Holland-on-Sea, Essex, on Sunday morning

"I played with him at Holland FC last year where we never lost a game," he said.

"He was so caring, kind and relaxed. I never saw him have a go at anyone."

A crowdfunding page has also been set up in his memory, and has so far raised more than £4,000.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption A number of Essex football clubs have tweeted messages of condolence

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust said they were called to the park at about 10:30 GMT with the first paramedic arriving within six minutes.

A spokesman said: "The man was not breathing and was confirmed in cardiac arrest.

"He was treated at the scene before being airlifted to Harefield Hospital in a critical condition."

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