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Double loss: two young footballers die hours apart

TRIBUTES have been paid to two ­promising young footballers who have died in separate incidents.

Jamie Skinner
Jamie Skinner

Former Heart of Midlothian trainee Jamie Skinner, 14, collapsed during a match for his new team Tynecastle FC yesterday, just a few hours after ­Hibernian youth team member David Paul was found dead at his home in Edinburgh.

The death of 18-year-old David is the second tragedy to hit his family, coming five years after his older sister Jennifer passed away in her sleep aged 16.

A spokesman for Hibernian FC spoke of the club's "great sorrow" following David's death and said that his family were devastated.

In a statement released yesterday, he said: "David, who could play in midfield or in attack, passed away in the early hours of today at his home in ­Edinburgh. There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding David's untimely death.

"David's father Gordon thanked those who have contacted the family to express their condolences and offer support, and asked that his family be allowed privacy to come to terms with their loss."

Hibs chairman Rod Petrie added: "Everyone at the club is deeply affected by this. David was a talented and ­promising young footballer, and a fine young man. Our thoughts - and the thoughts of the entire Hibernian community - are with his family at this dreadful and difficult time for them.

"Whilst we understand that people will wish to offer their support, we hope that the wishes of the family for privacy will be respected."

A spokesman for Tynecastle FC said Jamie Skinner became ill and lost consciousness during at the Saughton Astro pitch in Edinburgh following an "innocuous incident".

The Liberton High School pupil's teammates and paramedics who had rushed to the scene tried to revive him, but were unsuccessful. The cause of his death is not yet known.

The spokesman said that Jamie was "playing the game he loved" when he collapsed.

He added: "Although Jamie was new to our Tynecastle family, he was a ­prospect that undoubtedly would have had a bright future in the game.

"No words can fully express our grief and dismay at seeing this happen, we can only pass on all our thoughts and prayers to friends and family and hope they will get some strength from the out pouring of love and support from everyone.

"Everyone at Tynecastle is in total shock at what has happened, and we are sure the youth football community will join with us in also thinking of all the players, coaches and supporters at the game who witnessed this sad event, and the club also thanks everyone who tried to assist."

The club said that as a mark of respect all Tynecastle teams would hold a minute's silence before their next game.

One eyewitness, who asked not be named, was watching the game when the schoolboy collapsed. He said: "The young lad was fine one minute and then he just collapsed and never woke up.

"When he took unwell people at the game started pumping his chest but he never woke. The ambulance crews took over but he never made it."

A post-mortem examination will be carried out in a bid to establish the cause of death.

Heart of Midlothian Football Club sent a message of condolence to the 14-year-old's family, saying: "Jamie was a popular boy and a bubbly character and everyone at the football club is deeply shocked by the tragic events of today. Our thoughts and condolences go to his family at this extremely sad time."

Calum Robertson, chairman of the club's Youth Development Committee, also expressed shock at the news, saying: "We would like to pass on our condolences and tributes to Jamie's family at this terrible time."

Friends of the teenager and those who had met him through football used social media to pass on express their shock at his sudden death.

Fellow youth player Cieran Dunne tweeted: "I was playing football last week and talking to him! He was too young to die and didn't deserve it."

Friend Ryan Day added: "Today has been one of the hardest days ever, not just because my old teammate died, because I lost one of my best pals ever. Rip Jamie."

Writing on Twitter, the Scottish Football Association said: "Our thoughts are with @Tynecastle_FC and @HibernianFCClub and families of both players after tragic deaths of Jamie Skinner and David Paul."

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