Blackpool lightning strike: Tributes paid to Jordan Banks

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image copyrightBlackpool Gazette
image captionThe boy, named locally as Jordan Banks, was taking part in a football coaching session in Blackpool

Tributes have been paid to a nine-year-old boy who died after being struck by lightning during a football coaching session.

The child, who has been named locally as Jordan Banks, was injured when a thunderstorm hit as he was on a playing field in Blackpool on Tuesday evening.

Flowers, footballs and messages of condolence have been left at the scene.

Jordan played for Clifton Rangers Junior Football Club, who described him as "an extraordinary young man".

In a Facebook post, the club said the keen Liverpool FC fan was "a shining light and an inspiration to everyone that he met" and "a strong, determined and courageous young man, who will be missed by everyone".

"We cannot begin to imagine the grief of the family. Our thoughts, prayers, love and hugs go out to them all and to his teammates, friends and coaches who are devastated by the loss," it added.

The club said it would be working with the FA to support the family and anyone affected by his death.

image captionFlowers, football boots and messages of condolence have been placed on the field

Lancashire Police said officers were called at about 17:00 BST and Jordan was taken to hospital but died a short time later.

They said although enquiries were ongoing it was believed he was struck by lightning.

Family members have been among those who have been to the playing field in Common Edge Road to pay tribute.

Messages of condolence have been written on football shirts and placed at the side of the playing field.

People have also been posting nine footballs on social media in honour of Jordan, using the hashtag #RIPLittleMan.

image copyrightJustGiving
image captionJordan raised £3,000 for charity in memory of his uncle

One of Jordan's best friends, CJ, and his father laid flowers and a football on the field.

The nine-year-old said: "We were best friends, we were in the same class.

"He was very kind and caring. Football was very important to him. He loved it. He played it every day and at school with me."

At the scene, BBC correspondent Nick Garnett

Throughout the day flowers, footballs and football shirts have been left in remembrance of a life snatched away playing the game Jordan Banks loved so much.

His family and friends have described him as a "superstar footballer", telling me he lived for football and played at every single opportunity he could.

He came here after school with a small group of people for specialist training.

Grassroots football is coming to the end of the season and there were some crucial matches coming up and he was absolutely determined to play.

Jordan raised £3,000 for a mental health charity for his late uncle earlier this year, running 30 miles in 10 days.

Two crowdfunding pages have been set up in Jordan's memory, raising more than £20,000.

One of them praised his charity work, adding: "There are no words that could possibly be written to begin to explain the pain the family of Jordan must be feeling."

It said it was "time for us to come together as a community and help give back to such an incredibly, thoughtful and caring young lad who has been taken way too soon in a tragic incident".

image captionJordan played for Clifton Rangers Junior Football Club

Spirit of Youth Junior FC, which uses the field at the end of School Road in South Shore, said Jordan was understood to have been taking part in a private coaching session.

"We are entrenched in the local community, and we will give whatever support is required to both the family and to those that were with him at the time," the club added.

Blackpool Council, which owns the playing fields, said it was flying the town hall's flag at half-mast in tribute to Jordan.

image copyrightDave Nelson
image captionJordan was injured when a thunderstorm hit as he was on a playing field in South Shore

Blackpool South's MP Scott Benton said he was "incredibly sorry to hear this tragic and heartbreaking news".

"I'm sure I speak for the whole community when I say that everybody in Blackpool will be thinking of the boy's family and friends at this sad time," he said.

Andy Mellor, from the Blackpool branch of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said the school Jordan attended was a "very strong school".

"The head and deputy will be making every effort to support pupils and I know the governors will be rallying round as well," he said.

Training on the playing field has been cancelled until further notice.

While more are injured, on average in the UK two people are killed by lightning every year.

BBC Weather meteorologist Simon King said lightning was not uncommon, especially during the spring and summer months.

There were an estimated 3,000 lightning strikes across northern England between 16:00 BST and midnight on Tuesday.

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