The Tasmanian football community is in mourning after the sudden death of a teenage footballer.
Samara Whitney was just 16 when she passed away on Tuesday.
The youngster was a promising player for the Wynyard Football Club, north-west of Launceston, and was a member of the Tasmania Devils squad.
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She is being remembered as a “vibrant and loveable young lady” by her club.
“It is with great sadness and heartache, we acknowledge the sudden passing of Samara Whitney,” Wynyard Football Club said in a statement.
“Samara has been a part of the WFC family since juniors and played an integral role in our senior women’s premiership side this year.
“A vibrant and loveable young lady who has made her mark at the WFC as a passionate and talented player, who had a big future ahead of her. Our young gun, our pocket rocket, our #2…. such a positive influence for all. Someone who had a great connection with both our club and the wider community. This will last forever.
“A true star who shone bright both inside and out.
“We thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey and for bringing so much light and joy into so many lives.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends and to all who were blessed and touched by Mara’s beautiful soul.
“This unexpected passing has come as a shock to all. We ask the WFC community to be kind and compassionate, and to reach out with open arms to those around you.”
The social media post was immediately flooded with thousands of comments of condolences.
“The Penguin Football Club women’s squad are sending our deepest condolences to you all, especially the Wynyard women’s team. We are all thinking of you, and hope that you find peace knowing and remembering the amazing young girl she was,” Chloe Lynch said.
“Such a beautiful girl, who has been a wonderful support in the Devils Program to my daughter, Eliza. Her friendship will never be forgotten. The world shines a little less brightly now, unfortunately,” Andrea McCallum said.
Amanda Poke added: “Beautiful Samara, so hard to comprehend, will miss that sparkling smile, much love to family and friends.”
Friends close to Samara’s family have banded together to help set up a GoFundMe page to help her parents Kym Smitheram and Seton Whitney cover the funeral costs.
As of early Thursday morning, the fundraiser had already smashed its $15,000 target by over $8000.
“Tuesday September 5, 2023 is a day that all of us will never forget,” GoFundMe page organiser Sasha Burr wrote.
“It was the day we learnt the tragic news that Samara Whitney #2 was no longer with us.
“Time has since stood still for her family, friends, school community and sporting clubs as we all begin to grieve and navigate life without our special girl.
“With the permission of Samara’s parents Kym and Seton, we have set up this page to assist with giving their daughter a beautiful farewell that she deserves.
“The Whitney and Smitheram families are very loved in our little community and if you are wishing to donate please click on the donate button and please feel free to leave a message to Samara or her family.
“Much love to you all.”