An 11-year-old football fan was killed in a motorway pile-up as he made his way to watch a match.

Shaun Bates died when the car he was travelling in was involved in a six-vehicle smash.

The youngster and his 51-year-old father, David, both of Rugby, were in a vehicle being driven by a friend to watch his team Bolton Wanderers play Aston Villa.

His family have paid tribute to a “charming and delightful” young man.

The club’s chairman, Phil Gartside, is preparing to make a special visit to the family to pay his respects.

The accident happened near to Junction 16 of the M6 in Staffordshire at 1pm on Saturday.

Back-seat passenger Shaun was airlifted to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire after being given emergency treatment for multiple injuries at the scene. A doctor continued to treat him during the journey but he died in hospital.

Mr Bates, a postman, together with the driver and another passenger, escaped with minor injuries.

A family statement said: “Shaun was a clever, charming and delightful young man in his first year of secondary school.

“His love of Bolton Wanderers was his abiding passion.

“His death will leave a huge gap in all our lives and he will be missed terribly.”

He had an older brother Simon, aged 30, and sister Chantiece, 12.

Mr Bates moved to the Midlands from Bolton in 1983 but remained a Wanderers supporter.

He and Shaun attended matches regularly for the last five seasons and Shaun was a season ticket-holder for the last three years.

Family friend Andrew Leech said Mr Bates and Shaun’s mum Bernadetta, aged 50, were still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.

He said: “Shaun was a lovely, charming little lad.

“His smile lit us all up and we are all devastated. My wife and I have regularly driven Dave and Shaun to matches, both home and away, from our homes in Rugby.”

Mr Bates received a kidney transplant around 18 months ago and decided that Shaun’s organs should be made available for transplant so that his young life and tragic death might help other families.

Mr Leech said: “The fact that this was possible has given them some comfort.

“They hope their tragedy may in some small way inspire other donors.”

Shaun’s funeral will take place on May 12 in Rugby.