A talented young footballer has died in a drowning tragedy in the Netherlands.
Daniel Sirrell, 20, had been on holiday with friends in Amsterdam when he fell into a river and could not be saved.
Officials of Harton and Westoe FC, the South Shields clubs for whom Daniel had played for the last two seasons, have led the tributes to the popular youngster, from Peterlee.
Club secretary Kevin Gibson said: “This is a very difficult time for everyone at the club. There are no words. I’m broken.
“Dan was in Amsterdam with his friends for the weekend. He went for a walk, fell in the river and drowned.
“Dan was the club’s adopted son and I loved him with all of my heart.
Dan was the club’s adopted son and I loved him with all of my heartKevin Gibson
“He was the nicest person you could ever meet, and never had a bad word to say about anyone. The thing that shines out to me the most is his smile – it lit a room up.
“He was a very special lad and will be sorely missed.”
It is understood that the tragedy happened in the early hours of Sunday morning.
After the news of Daniel’s death broke, team-mates at Harton and Westoe organised a gathering on Sunday night to pay tribute to the former East Durham College student.
Manager David Crumbie said: “Dan was a really, really nice young lad, and was always the heart and soul of the dressing room.
“He was also very loyal to the club, and turned down chances to play at a higher level for money because he wanted to stay at Harton with his mates and us.
“He was so well-liked, not just for how good he was at football, but for what he was like as a person as well.”
The club’s assistant manager, John Pressling, said: “Dan was a top lad and great to work with. All the lads are devastated. First and foremost, he was a great lad, but he was also a player with real potential and I think he could have gone on to play at a much higher level.”