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Ashford footballers to pay tribute to Connor McDonald, 9, who died after falling into Dymchurch sea

Hundreds of footballers are expected to pay tribute this weekend to a nine-year-old boy who died earlier this week.

It is believed Connor McDonald, who played for Ashford United Under 10s and was a pupil at Furley Park school in Ashford, suffered a heart attack after falling into the sea in Dymchurch on Tuesday.

A dog walker who was passing by tried to save him by diving into the water and dragging him to shore.

Emergency services, including the air ambulance and lifeboat were called to the scene in Hythe Road, and Connor was rushed to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

He sadly died later that night.

Tributes have since been paid to the young boy from his headteacher and from his coach.

In addition, footballers will honour the budding young player this weekend by holding either a minute's silence or applause ahead of their games.

This includes mens, youth and boys teams playing in the Ashford and District Leagues and the East Kent League.

Ashford United men's team, who are at home playing Sevenoaks tomorrow, will also wear black armbands as a mark of respect.

Connor's football coach Jim Wealands said his team have been left devastated by the tragic news.

He said: "He was a fantastic lad and a very talented footballer.

"He got on with everyone, the team are devastated. Everyone loved him to bits. My son went to school with Connor and they were very close."

Paul Ketley, head of Furley Park, spoke of the "terrible tragedy" that has left staff and pupils "shocked and devastated".

He added that Connor had "touched the lives and hearts of all who knew him" and "will be missed terribly".

Mr Ketley said: "Our thoughts and sympathies are with Connor’s family and friends.

“He was a popular and fun member of our school community and a talented young sportsman."

If you want to pay tribute to Connor, please contact the newsdesk by emailing kentishexpress@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 01233 623232.

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