Father of tragic nine-year-old Jordan Banks reveals he has saved three other children as former Leeds United star among tributes
The heartbroken father of a tragic nine-year-old boy killed by lightning while playing football says his donated organs have helped save three other children - as football players including James Milner paid emotional tributes.
An emotional message on behalf of Matt Banks revealed his selfless son Jordan was registered as an organ donor because he "wanted to help other people if he could".
Mr Banks said he "couldn't have been prouder" of his "little best mate" in a touching tribute posted to Facebook on Thursday (13 May), two days after Jordan died on a playing field.
The statement said: "Literally words can’t even explain how heartbroken I am.
"Not only have I lost my little boy, I have lost my little best mate.
"Jordan was and is the most amazing little person, he had the biggest heart and would do anything for anyone.
"And when parents say they have the best kid ever, he genuinely was the best ever and if I ever could have asked for a perfect child that was my Jordan.
"I couldn’t have been prouder of him always putting other people above himself, such a selfless little person.
"Even now his kindness has meant that three other children may be able to live as he always told us he wanted to be able to help other people if he could, so was a donor and has donated which we know will be what he wanted."
Talented youth player Jordan Banks was fatally injured during a thunderstorm in Blackpool, Lancs., at around 5pm on Tuesday (May 11).
The footy mad youngster, an ardent Liverpool FC fan, is thought to have been taking part in a private coaching session at the time of the tragedy.
Thousands of tributes have poured in from around the world for tragic Jordan, including from Liverpool and former Leeds United star James Milner who described him as "a special boy taken far too soon".
Milner, 35, had praised the youngster months earlier for raising over £2,500 for charity in a video that delighted him.
Alongside a picture of Jordan, Milner said: "A special boy taken far too soon. RIP Jordan, YNWA."
Milner had first got in touch with him in January after he heard he ran 30 miles to raise over £2,500 for a local mental health organisation in memory of his uncle.
Milner told him: "Hi Jordan, how's it going? I've heard that you're doing an amazing thing in raising funds for counselling in honour of your uncle Reece.
"I think running a marathon is an incredible feat, and it's difficult with people doing it with legs a lot bigger than yours, but to do 30 miles is incredible.
"I heard you get called Mini-Milner because you're very determined, so that's an amazing skill to have.
"Never ever give up and I hear you've been out in all weather fighting in the cold and the rain, so you keep going, and keep doing what you're doing mate.
"'Just remember you'll never walk alone.
"All the boys are behind you and I'll send you a couple of shirts - one for yourself for doing an amazing thing and another that you can hopefully raise a bit of money from and put it towards all the money you're raising.
"Well done bud, it's an amazing achievement and you should be very proud."
Mr Banks' statement, posted by a friend, added: "One of Jordan’s passions was Liverpool but that was probably more me forcing it on him.
"His other passions - one of many - was martial arts, and fashion (he would change his outfit three times a day which used to annoy Jen because of the amount of washing).
"But he always made sure he looked trendy and liked his outfit. His favourite T-shirt was his cobra Kai top as he was obsessed with cobra Kai.
"He always wanted his Liverpool or cobra Kai top on and would not be happy if they weren’t clean."
Mr Banks also urged other parents not to take precious moments for granted with their children.
He went on: "We would sit and talk for hours about his future and he would always ask me what I wanted his children to call me and we both decided on Papi.
"So the real message I wanted to put across is that I never took anything for granted and I always made sure we had quality family time and did whatever I could to show him how much he was loved and how special and beautiful he was.
"So what I ask of anyone with children cherish every moment even moments that seem to insignificant right now... picking them up from school, putting them to bed at night, making them a drink have tea time together.. as you never know when moments like that will be taken away from you.
"It only feels like yesterday I was making Jordan a brew, putting him to bed, getting kisses, squeezing him and playing with him.
"Don’t take any time for granted as you may end up wishing you had more like me!
"So please please if you are busy and they might want to play a game or watch something with you just find time because it’s priceless."
On Wednesday Blackpool Tower was illuminated red tonight in tribute to Jordan.
In a message, officials wrote: "Tonight, the Blackpool Tower is lit up in red.
"Yesterday our community lost one of its brightest lights, so this evening we stand alongside Jordan Banks family, friends and our community to remember a remarkable young man."
In a statement on Wednesday, issued by Lancashire Police, Jordan's devastated family said: "Yesterday our worlds stopped. We lost the brightest star our beautiful boy Jordan.
"His laugh, that infectious smile, golden curls, he was our everything. Wise beyond his years, caring, considerate, generous and so loving. Our love is endless.
"Goodnight beautiful boy."