Mudslide death: Coach of girl, 10, who dreamt of being a Lioness says team 'devastated' by death

The football coach of a 10-year-old whose dream it was to become a Lioness has said the team is "devastated" by news of her being killed in a mudslide.

Leah Harrison died during a school field trip to Carlton Bank forest on the edge of the North York Moors, North Yorkshire.

A major operation involving 30 mountain rescuers was launched to save her, as heavy rain fell in the area, but she could not be saved.

Described as a "go-lucky little girl", Leah was said to be "obsessed with football" and dreamed of becoming a Lioness.

Her Darlington Football Club coach John Woolnough said the team was "devastated to hear of the tragic passing of Leah".

He said while Leah had only joined the "family" this season, she had "quickly become a popular member amongst the girls".

"She was a joy to coach - always smiling and trying her best - and had shown big improvements during her time with us," the coach said.

As a mark of respect, the club's Under 11 game this weekend has been postponed.

A minute's silence will be observed at every other youth match.

Lingfield Education Trust said Leah was a "much loved" pupil at Mount Pleasant School in Darlington.

Nick Blackburn, the trust's chief executive, said: "The full details are still emerging but this is clearly a heartbreaking tragedy. Leah was a much loved part of our school and our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and the school staff.

"Counselling is being arranged within the school for pupils and staff. We are all in a state of shock and we would ask that the privacy of the family and the school community is respected while we try to come to terms with what has happened."

Mr Blackburn said in an interview with Sky News that Leah was "obsessed with football", who dreamed of becoming a Lioness, before describing her as "very resilient a girl, she showed real grit and determination in her life".

Her family described Leah as a "happy, bubbly, go-lucky little girl" and said "God only takes the best".

"The beautiful smile, the giddy laugh, the silly jokes. You will never ever be forgotten baby girl," it continued.

"You will achieve your dream and become a player for the Lionesses, spread those wings. May you rest in paradise."

Shared on Facebook, the family said there are plans for a "balloon release" in a local field at 4pm on Monday.

The family is being supported by specially trained police officers.

Denise McGuckin, managing director of Hartlepool Borough Council, which operates Carlton Adventure, said: "We can confirm that a tragic incident occurred during one of the centre's instructor-led outdoor education forest walks near to Carlton-in-Cleveland yesterday.

"We are utterly devastated and heartbroken and our thoughts are with Leah's family and friends and all those affected.

"We are working closely with our partner agencies to carry out a full investigation and we are temporarily suspending all outdoor activities and residential breaks managed by the council.

"Whilst the investigation is being carried out it would be inappropriate for us to comment further."

On Wednesday, North Yorkshire Police said officers were responding to a mudslide which happened at 1.15pm in Carlton-in-Cleveland.

The force said: "We can confirm that one person has sadly died as a result of the incident. Our thoughts are with their family and friends during this difficult time."

No one else was injured during the incident.

The scene was cordoned off throughout the afternoon and members of the public were asked to avoid the area.