Sunderland to hold minute’s applause in tribute to teenager who was ‘always smiling’

A minute’s applause will be held at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light tonight in memory of a teenage footballer who died days before Christmas.

Harvey McWilliams died aged 18 on December 21 following an incident on the railway tracks in Darlington.

His tragic passing has left his family, friends and members of the community “heartbroken”, with tributes pouring in for the football-mad teen who was “always smiling and encouraging others”.

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Tonight, football fans will pay tribute to the Sunderland AFC supporter with a one minute applause on the 18th minute of Sunderland’s match against Lincoln City this evening.

During the applause, Harvey’s photo will also be displayed on a large screen in the stadium and Harvey’s dad Michael hopes the crowd will join him in paying tribute to his son.

In a post on Twitter, Michael wrote: “Thank you to @SunderlandAFC and @CWaters_SAFC.

“Hoping everyone joins in with an applause on Tuesday night v Lincoln City on the 18th minute in memory of my son Harvey 18 years old who tragically took his own life on the 21/12/21. His picture will be on the big screen.”

Harvey McWilliams was a talented footballer player
Harvey McWilliams was a talented footballer player
(Image: Handout)

A talented footballer himself, Harvey played for Darlington All-stars, Blackwell Rangers, Darlington FC Academy and most recently, Exeter Panthers AFC.

Exeter Panthers AFC Seniors were among the many people who paid tribute to Harvey following his passing.

In a Facebook post the club wrote: “Harvey’s passing is such a shock to us all – we were fortunate to have him join the squad a few months ago. Having been released by Darlington, he was in search of a new footballing home and found it here at Panthers.

“At just 18 years of age, his influence on and off the pitch was massive – always smiling, encouraging those around him and playing with a passion that was evident in every challenge, in every game.

“He is a huge loss as a son, brother, player and a friend.

“Rest in Peace Harvey, you will be forever loved and missed in Exeter, forever in our hearts and prayers.”

In response to Harvey’s dad’s post about his son’s tribute at Stadium of Light, Exeter Panthers AFC Seniors replied: “All at Exeter Panthers continue to send you their love. We have all of your family in our hearts and minds.”

In the wake of the tragedy, thousands of pounds have been donated in Harvey’s memory to support his family with funeral costs, with £7,800 raised so far.

Any additional funding is set to be donated to mental health charities. To donate to the Go Fund Me page click here.

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Chronicle Live – Sunderland