Family and friends have paid tribute to 13-year-old schoolboy and “smashing lad” who died suddenly last week.

Ryan Payne, a talented young sportsman and pupil at Greenshaw High School, Sutton, was found dead in Morden on Wednesday.

A fundraising page launched to help the teenager’s family pay for his funeral described his death as a “tragic accident”.

His dad Ross, a Sutton firefighter, and his wife Emma, a healthcare assistant at St Helier Hospital, were with him when he died.

They said in a a statement: “We are absolutely devastated and would like to thank everyone for the love and obvious fondness shown towards our Ryan. His smile and cheeky nature will live on forever.”

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Kerry Smith, Ryan's mum, said his family – including younger brothers Wentworth and Harrison  - were “heartbroken” by his death.

She said: “He had a nan and a granddad who adored him. The whole family is heartbroken.

“Me, as his mum, am devastated at the loss of my first born son. His younger brother Wentworth is also heartbroken. He says he's lost he's best friend, his play mate and his big brother.  

“He also had lots of cousins who are all devastated. He was so loving and caring and his smile will shine on us forever.

“He had a step dad who would go to pick him up when he would come round. 

"He was loved by so many and he still will be deep in our hearts forever.”

Police and paramedics were called to “reports of a sudden death” in Canterbury Road, Morden, at 6.20pm.

Ryan, a year 9 pupil, was taken by ambulance to a south London hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police are not treating his death as suspicious.

Ms Isaacs, who set up the fundraising page, wrote: “His life was cut short by what can only be described as a tragic accident.

“Ross, Emma and the rest of the Payne family … all devoted their lives to giving Ryan the best life possible. He really was the centre of their universe.”

She described Ryan as a “little cheeky chappy” who was “fun loving and always smiling”.

Nick House, headteacher of Greenshaw High, said: “Ryan was a smashing lad. He was always polite, courteous and honest. "His smiling face will be sorely missed by his Red House family.

“He was a fantastic student. He was enthusiastic in lessons, and had an inquisitive nature about geographical processes.

"His competitiveness in quizzes also brought a fantastic quality to the class.

“Ryan was a happy smiling boy who always approached his history lessons with the greatest enthusiasm.

"Ryan worked so hard and loved history and his classmates. He will be deeply missed.”

He added: “Ryan was an exceptional cricketer and bowler. "After spotting him in action in the playground he was asked to join the school team and was instrumental in us winning the league with an undefeated record.

“He was also a very keen table tennis player and played regularly with his friends at school. Sport was a big part of his life.”

The Carshalton Little League, where keen footballer and Liverpool FC fan Ryan had played since he was seven, is preparing a tribute for the teenager this week.

The Comets team, who Ryan played for, are planning to hold a minute’s silence before their game on Saturday and will let off balloons in the red colour of Liverpool.

Richard Chacksfield, the league’s chairman, said: “It’s absolutely tragic that such a lovely young man is not with us. "He was a great boy who was always smiling and enjoyed his football.

“I know that these things happen, but you don’t expect it to happen this close to home.

“We all remember Ryan well and he was always such a polite and well-mannered boy who played the game in the right spirit. All his managers say the same, he was a pleasure to have in their teams.”

More than £900 had been donated to the fundraising page by today.

Ms Isaacs said: “As the messages on condolences began to flood in, we all felt that nothing that we say or do could possibly repair the hurt that this family are going through.

“But we thought an old fashioned whip-round may go some way to giving Ryan’s family hope that so many people are thinking of them and wanting Ryan to have the biggest and best send-off that he could possibly have and truly deserves.”

If you would like to contribute to Ryan's funeral fund, click here.