TRIBUTES have been paid to a‘bubbly’ young woman who played wheelchair basketball in Worcester, who has died aged 22.

Morwenna Johnson, also known as Mo, died on January 17 after battling mental health issues.

The 22-year-old was known in the community after playing for Worcester Wolves Wheelchair Basketball Team.

Her best friend, Emma Johnson, who met Mo in 2016, said: “We became very close over the years. She was like my sister. I was her family.

“I am completely empty without her. I have lost my shadow and lost my best friend.

“I was the one who was there for her. I saw her every single day up until the day she died.”

Mrs Johnson met Mo at Stoke Spitfires Wheelchair Basketball, in Stoke-on Trent, where Mo was an ambassador for the club.

Mrs Johnson, aged 32, described her best friend as “devastatingly beautiful” and said she touched many people’s lives.

She added: “She was super competitive and fierce on the court. She was such an amazing person. It’s a shame she didn’t realise how important she was and many people she touched.”

Mo, who changed her surname from Hastings to match her friend’s last year, became paralysed at the age of 18 after having a spinal stoke.

She started at the University of Worcester in 2016 to study disabilities in sport, before she changed her course to social work.

In 2017, she received a scholarship and went to Alabama in the United States to study, before moving back to the UK in March 2019.

Her body was found by police and paramedics at the Travelodge, in Newcastle Road, Stoke on Trent, after reports of a ‘medical emergency’ at the venue.

But there was nothing the emergency services could do to save her, and she was pronounced dead at the hotel.

Dave Dunbar, chairman of the Worcester Wolves Wheelchair Basketball Team, posted the heart-breaking news on Facebook on January 19.

He said: “Had some very sad news tonight. The very sad news of a young friend of mine losing, if that’s the right word, her battle with mental health.

“I say she was a friend, as I only really spoke to her a few times, photographed her a few times as well while she played a sport she loved, but I loved her like a friend, and I am truly heartbroken that a woman with such potential and so much to live for is not alive anymore.

“She was a character, and a special person who will be sadly missed.

“All I have left to say is that if anyone ever wants someone to talk to, I’m here, I’m a good listener, even if it is via social media.

“Please don’t be afraid to talk and ask for help. #foreverMo.”

Harry Smith, head coach for Worcester Wolves Wheelchair Basketball team, said: “When you saw Mo, she always brought a bright spark to the team.

“She was fiery on the court and before every game she brought a real buzz to the team.

“She was one of the first people I had coached at the club. You could talk to her about anything, on and off the court. She was a lovely person and she cared for everyone.”

Mr Smith, aged 24, added: “She was a role model within the women’s league.

“There are so many people who knew Mo. She provided so much happiness to others.

“She had a charismatic personality. She was a very helpful, happy, positive, fun and bubbly woman.

“She would always be on the court with a big smile on her face, which for a lot sport that gets intense, people forget that smile.”

Worcester Wolves Wheelchair Basketball Club has posted a video on Facebook to pay tribute to Mo, which includes various photos of her time at the club.