Tributes have been paid to a “passionate” equestrian who died in a car accident at the age of 18.

Megan Harding-Jones, of Epping, died when the Volkswagen Polo she was driving left the A414 in the early hours of Saturday morning (15 April).

Megan worked as a groom for Ashlea Silk-Jones, whose parents run Brook Farm Training Centre in Essex.

“It is with great sadness that Perry and Katharine Harding-Jones announce the tragic death of their beautiful and much loved daughter Megan in a road traffic accident on Saturday 15 April. No other people or vehicles were involved,” read a statement from Megan’s family, which asked for privacy while they deal with their loss.

“Megan was a fun loving, vivacious teenager who was passionately devoted to equestrian life.

“An accomplished and talented rider; Megan loved her horses and competed in local and national equestrian events.

“Any words are inadequate to express the deep loss felt by Megan’s family and friends at such a sad and difficult time.”

Ashlea also paid tribute to her friend on Facebook, describing Megan as a “naturally gifted young rider”.

“Not once did you ever moan, you always had a big smile on your face and asked what was next,” she wrote.

“You were such a talented, grateful young lady who always worked so hard every day…. still with your beautiful big smile at the end of the day.

You were so grown up for your age, maturing into a lovely polite young lady who would help absolutely anyone. I honestly am going to miss you so much… my day isn’t complete without hearing your stories.

“RIP angel, you may be gone, but you will never ever be forgotten, you have touched a lot of people’s hearts and we are so, so devastated. I love you Megs.”

Anyone with information on the accident is asked to call Essex Police on 01245 240590.