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24 Feb 2017 : Former Linnets junior Luke Mackrell, 18, passes away

Tributes are being paid to a former Runcorn Linnets Juniors footballer, who has died aged 18 after a short illness.

Luke Mackrell passed away in Halton Haven Hospice on Wednesday of this week, 11 days after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Luke had been with the Linnets Juniors from their time as Inter Union JFC - staying from Under 10s until his team's run in the junior age groups ended at U16s.

He was noted as a talented left-sided midfield player but played in other positions to help out the team, including goalkeeper many times.

Luke's manager all through his time with Linnets, Steve McKenna, junior section committee members, coaches and former team-mates have described Luke as an excellent all-round footballer with a very likeable, infectious and inspirational personality.

The club's Junior head secretary, Ciaran Clotwothy said: 'We are all absolutely devastated at Luke's very unexpected passing and the loss of a lovely lad. No-one ever had a bad word to say about him.

'In fact, Luke was known as the lad who would lift your spirits when you needed it.'

In poignant online tributes, it was also said of Luke:

"He hit up the room with his jokes and never failed to make people laugh."

"He wasn't just a mate, he was like a brother - the boys won't be the same without him."

On leaving the Linnets, Luke had continued his career with another local club, Smiths SD and again proved to be an important and influential team member - sharing in a league and cup double.

Luke had been educated at St Chad's High School in Runcorn.

As a mark of respect, a minute's applause will be held in memory of Luke before kick-off to Runcorn Linnets' next first-team game at home to Ashton Athletic on Saturday, March 4th at The Millbank Linnets Stadium.

The funeral service is at Our Lady's Church, Palace Fields, Runcorn, on Thursday, March 9th at 10am.

All connected with Runcorn Linnets send deepest sympathies and condolences to Luke's family.

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