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Tributes to Enfield FC football club director hit by train

 (Enfield FC)
(Enfield FC)

Tributes have flooded in for a “much loved” director at a football club who was tragically found dead on a railway.

Simon Needham, 51, was killed after being struck by a Stanstead Express train as it travelled through Bishop’s Stortford, Essex on Wednesday.

The operations director of accountant firm Croucher Needham had been declared missing from his family home in Braintree the day before with hundreds of concerned family members and friends sharing an appeal for his whereabouts.

Enfield Football Club, where Mr Needham sat on the board, announced on Thursday: “We can confirm that our much-loved director Simon Needham has passed away after being declared missing on Tuesday.

“Our thoughts are with the immediate family of Jo, Sarah, Holly, Grace, Emily, Harry, Fred & George, plus the wider family and friends.

“Everyone at Enfield FC are completely devastated with this sudden news and we ask for people’s privacy and respect of the family at this time.”

The club, that plays in the Isthmian League North Division, had said on Facebook on Wednesday night when it shared Essex Police’s appeal: “A man who always puts everyone’s needs above his own, we now all need to bring him home to his family.”

Ashley Sutton, three-times Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) winner, paid tribute to Mr Needham, posting: “It is with great sadness and regret that Simon Needham passed away last night.

“Si, you was the last piece to the puzzle to make my BTCC career possible and I wouldn’t have lined up on the grid in 2016 if it wasn’t for what you did for me.

“You weren’t just a sponsor but a better friend. We love you and miss you.

“Sleep tight mate.”

Tributes flooded in after the British Transport Police said in a statement on Thursday: “Officers were called to Bishop’s Stortford station at 9.24pm on August 30 following reports of a casualty on the tracks.

“Paramedics also attended, however, sadly, a man was pronounced dead at the scene.

“The incident is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner.”

Train operator Greater Anglia said that a person was hit by the 9.13pm Stansted Express service to London Liverpool Street. The line was blocked and trains were unable to run until 11.30pm.

An Essex Police statement said the force had called off the two-day search for Mr Needham on the discovery of a body.

The force said: “We have suspended our search for Simon Needham, 51, who had been reported missing from Braintree.

“It follows the discovery of a man’s body in Bishop’s Stortford.

“Formal identification has yet to take place, but Mr Needham’s family have been informed and support is in place for them.

“His death is not being treated as suspicious.”