A town has been left devastated after a boy died in a hit and run outside a secondary school and leaving six others injured.

12-year-old Harley Watson, from Loughton, a Year 8 student at Debden Park High School, died from his injures after being taken to hospital on Monday, December 2.

Two 15-year-old boys, one 13-year-old boy, one 16-year-old girl and a 53-year-old woman were hit by the car at around 3.20pm on Willingale Road.

Their injuries were not believed to be life-changing or life-threatening.

The family of Harley Watson paid tribute to their “lovely boy”, saying: “We are so devastated by what has happened.

“Harley was a good, kind, helpful and lovely boy.

“We would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and concern.

"However as a family we would like people to respect our privacy and allow us to grieve in peace.”

Essex Police is continuing to investigate the circumstances around yesterday’s incident.

Officers arrested 51-year-old Terry Glover, also from Loughton a few hours after an appeal was launched to find him in connection of the incident.

Epping Forest Conservative MP candidate Dame Eleanor Laing

The parliamentary candidate who has been MP for the district for 22 years Tweeted today:

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the young boy who tragically died outside Debden Park High School yesterday."

Dozens of flowers were laid outside the school the next day.

A Go Fund Me Page was launched yesterday, which has since received almost £40,000 worth of donations, reaching a £1,00 in the first hour.

Chief Supt Tracey Harman, provided a statement of the murder investigation.

She said: “The events of yesterday in Willingale Road have seen trauma and distress brought to the community in Loughton after a 12-year-old boy was killed and a number of people injured following a collision with a car.

“I have seen first-hand the impact this incident has had locally and we continue to progress this live investigation which has seen a 51-year-old man arrested on suspicion of a number of offences including murder.

“We are examining a number of enquiries, including where there has been previous contact between Essex Police and the man we have arrested.

“I would continue to urge anyone who has any information, please come forward and speak to us.”

Following the collision in Willingale Road just after 3.20pm yesterday afternoon Monday 2 December, Essex Police received reports of a car mounting the pavement near Roding Valley High School, Alderton Hill, Loughton.

"This incident is believed to have happened around ten minutes prior to the collision we were called to.

DCI Rob Kirby, senior investigating officer, said: “The incident near Roding Valley High School, believed to have happened in Brook Road, was reported to us after it became widely known we were dealing with a serious collision in Willingale Road.

"Our investigations have led us to establish that there may be connections between that incident and the one which has led us to establish a murder investigation.

“I am appealing for anyone who witnessed that incident to contact my team. I would also like to hear from anyone who saw a silver Ford KA travelling through Loughton between 2.40pm and 3.45pm yesterday to contact us, particularly if you have any CCTV or dash cam footage.

“I would like to remind people we have arrested a 51-year-old man who is in custody.

“He was arrested in a vehicle in the car park of the Merry Fiddler pub in Fiddlers Hamlet at 11pm last night. We have recovered a car and we do have a scene on there currently as part of our ongoing investigations.

“I keen to establish the journey the car took from Willingale Road to the car park of the Merry Fiddler pub.

“Again if you have any CCTV or dash cam footage please contact us.”

Essex Police have established a section on the policing portal where any information or footage and be submitted – mipp.police.uk

Additionally you can call us on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Home secretary Priti Patel said: "It is more than tragic. I was on my way to Essex when it happened. I have been in touch with the Police and Crime Commissioner and candidates in the area.

My thoughts are with the school and families in particular that have been affected.

"This incident is so devastating and incredibly sad."

Ambassador for Epping Forest Neighbourhood Watch, Sue Taylor, posted a tribute and praised the emergency servies for their work on the group's Facebook page.

She said: "Today in Loughton we will come together to reflect on the terrible incident yesterday and the loss of one of our community.

"St John's Church is open all day for us to pray and receive support and we thank them for being so quick to open their doors to us all.

"Lastly we want to remember in our prayers the members of our emergency services who worked so hard to save such a young life and our police who dealt with the situation.

"We can only imagine what they must be going through and we are sure they will also receive the care and support they require in the aftermath of yesterday's tragic and meaningless incident."