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Sam Wilson: Family pay tribute to talented footballer killed in Ilkeston van incident

The family of a man who died following an incident in Ilkeston have paid tribute to the talented footballer with a “heart of gold”.
Samuel Wilson (known as Sam) was struck by a van along with two other men on the Market Place just after 2am on Saturday 16 December.

Despite attempts to save him, the 26-year-old from Long Eaton died at the scene. Two other men were taken to hospital for treatment for injuries and are now recovering at home.

Today his family have paid tribute to the “talented, loving and handsome” young man.

The statement said: “Samuel William Wilson, also known as Willow to his mates, tragically died while out for his football team’s annual Christmas celebration.

“Sam, our talented number 12 team player, did not have one bad bone in his body. He had a kind, caring, gentle nature which was something everyone loved about him.

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“He genuinely lit up every room with his infectious cheeky smile and witty sense of humour – a true gent with a heart of gold.

“Sam was a talented football player and keen Derby County supporter – rarely ever missing a game. He was an animal lover who loved dogs, a keen gym goer and a great cook with a passion for health and wellness.

“Sam and his girlfriend were inseparable, true soul mates, with their whole lives and future ahead of them.

“He loved his two nieces and they will always know about their uncle ‘moonhead’ as his oldest niece would call him – as he will always be talked about by his family and friends.

“He was the best son, brother, nephew, grandson, cousin, friend and boyfriend to all that had the pleasure of being a part of his life.

“The pain that we all feel will never go away, our blue-eyed boy has been taken from us far too early.

“Sam always saw the best in every situation. He wouldn’t want for us to stay sad, but rather cherish the happier times that we all had with him.

“Our gorgeous boy will forever be missed. Not a day will go by that he won’t be talked about, missed, and adored by us all.

“Our talented, loving, handsome boy. Until we meet again. Forever in our hearts. Forever 26. We love you.”

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