Glowing tributes have been paid to a 15-year-old cycling champion who died in his sleep.
Hope Valley College pupil Charlie Craig, from Hayfield, who tragically died on Friday night, has been described by his headteacher as a role model to others and who “had a bright future ahead of him”.
Last year he won the National Trophy Cyclo-cross Series and was an apprentice-level racer on the Great Britain Cycling Team’s Rider Route.
David Willis, from the college, said: “Charlie was a well-loved and successful student. He was always happy, smiling and enthusiastic, popular among his peers and supportive of younger students.
“He was admired as a role model in school and will be greatly missed. “As well as being a talented and elite cyclist, he was also a very able student academically, he had a bright future ahead of him. As a community we will feel his loss deeply. He had a positive impact on many people.
“Both students and staff are taking comfort from the shared memories they have of Charlie.”
The school said it plans to produce a memorial wall for staff and students to honour the gifted teenager.
Charlie’s passion for cycling was shared by his family. His dad Nick is a veteran National Trophy Cyclo-cross and National Cross-Country MTB Series champion and a former senior national champion, while brother Tom is a national junior cyclo-cross champion.
The heart-breaking news was announced by his dad on Facebook at the weekend in a post which read: “Our world fell apart. Our beautiful lovely little boy Charlie went to sleep but never woke up. I don’t know what else to write just now, but he will be with his little angel niece.”
British Cycling programmes director Andy Harrison paid tribute to the young star. He said: “Charlie was a promising young rider who had his whole life ahead of him. Everyone involved with the team is devastated by this news and, naturally, all of our thoughts are with Charlie’s family.”
Dame Sarah Storey, the 14-time Paralympic gold medallist from Disley, tweeted a tribute: “Devastated to hear the news about Charlie Craig, what a tragic loss.”
Simon Burney, a former professional cyclo-cross racer who manages professional cyclo-cross and mountain bike teams, said: “Right now nothing else seems important. Life is fragile.” British cyclo-cross champion Nikki Brammeier added: “This is just awful, so sad for such a lovely family, RIP Charlie”.