‘Always smiling’ teenager who was ‘loved and adored’ dies days before Christmas

Since football-mad Harvey McWilliams lost his life, more than £3,000 has been raised to support his family with funeral costs, with additional money being donated to mental health charities

Harvey McWilliams was a talented footballer player
Harvey McWilliams was a talented footballer player and a Sunderland AFC fan

The devastated family of a teenager have paid tribute to their “gorgeous boy” following a tragic incident on railway tracks earlier this week.

Since football-mad Harvey McWilliams lost his life on Tuesday in Darlington, more than £3,000 has been raised to support his family with funeral costs. Any additional money will be donated to mental health charities.

The beloved 18-year-old was a talented footballer and has been described by his club as someone who was “always smiling and encouraging others”.

Touching tributes have flooded in since his passing, with his mum Kelly writing on Facebook: “Absolutely heartbroken.

“Our gorgeous boy gained his angel wings today. Gone far too soon. Luke, Michael, Brenda and I are devastated.

“Thank you for all your messages, we need a bit of space to take it all in. Harvey McWilliams you are loved and adored more than you’ll ever know.”

Sunderland AFC was Harvey’s love but he also attended matches to watch his home team Darlington FC play and recently adopted Exeter FC after moving to the city for university earlier this year, Teeside Live reported.

Thousands of pounds have been raised in a matter of hours to support Harvey’s family



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

As Harvey’s heartbroken family start to plan a funeral for their beloved 18-year-old just days before Christmas, a Go Fund Me page was set up in the teenager’s memory.

In a matter of hours the initial target of £2,000 was topped by fundraisers as a community comes out to support the family at such a devastating time.

Fundraiser Tori Gill wrote: “Loved by many, Harvey was always smiling, adored by his family and friends and he will be missed forever.

“I’ve set this up with permission from Harvey’s family to raise funds to help towards various things such as funeral costs and to help his family in general.

Where to get mental health help in 2021

Samaritans : Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email [email protected], in confidence

Platform 1 men’s community group : Support for issues including mental health problems and addiction recovery. Visit the website or call 01484 421143.

Andy’s Man Club : [email protected]

PAPYRUS : A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141

Mind : A charity offering support and advice for people with mental health problems.

Bullying UK : A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) : For young men who are feeling unhappy. There’s a website and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58

MindOut: Provide support and advice on mental health for members of LGBTQ communities. Phone 01273 234839

“It will also be nice for any extra money raised to be given to support any mental health charities which were close to the family’s heart. I’ve set is at £2,000 but the more that can be raised the better.”

To donate to the Go Fund Me page click here .

Posting on Facebook, Exeter Panthers AFC Seniors wrote: “At 4am this morning, we received a heartbreaking message to tell us that Harvey McWilliams, who had travelled back home for Christmas to be with his family, had tragically passed away.

“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.”

And Darlington FC said: “The club is very saddened and shocked to learn of the death of one of our former Academy players, Harvey McWilliams.

“Harvey, who was 18, was in our Academy for two seasons and left last summer.

“He was a defender who played regularly in our Academy team and was respected and well-liked by everyone on the course. He gave 100% commitment to everything he did.

“The condolences of everyone at Darlington FC go to his family and friends.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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