Search for answers over teen's death

A FAMILY devastated by the drowning death of a Stowmarket teenager today told of their continuing battle to uncover exactly what caused him to die.

A FAMILY devastated by the drowning death of a Stowmarket teenager today told of their continuing battle to uncover exactly what caused him to die.

Ashley Surtees' parents Jerry and Samantha Cobbold are hoping key questions will be answered this week when they are handed reports put together by the Gran Canaria police into the 17-year-old's death.

It will be eight weeks since the former Stowmarket Middle School and Otley College student's death tomorrow and Mr and Mrs Cobbold, of Walnut Tree Walk, Stowmarket, today told of the family's struggle to come to terms with what happened.

The couple visited his grave on Sunday and Mr Cobbold said: “We're missing him terribly. It's a terrible shock to your system for that to happen.

“The house is very empty. It's just me, Samantha and the dog.

“Samantha has been strong but obviously you have your moments. He and his mother were very close.”

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Mrs Cobbold added: “It's very, very hard. I can't imagine the years I've got ahead without him.”

Ashley, a strong and keen swimmer, was on holiday with his parents and his girlfriend Shireen Halls, of Combs, when he died.

They were sunbathing just feet away when he drowned in the hotel swimming pool on July 11. It is believed he got stuck to a filter at the bottom of the pool.

Post mortems conducted in Gran Canaria and at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds both determined the cause of death was drowning.

Ashley's parents and his 23-year-old brother, Lee, are now trying to find out what caused the tragedy.

They have a solicitor in Gran Canaria who is liaising with the authorities on the popular holiday island and this week they expect her to send them translated police reports into the death.

Mr Cobbold, who returned to work at ICI Paints in Stowmarket three weeks ago, said: “We're sort of on tenterhooks. We want to find out the causes but whether we actually will find the cause we don't know.”

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ASHLEY Surtees' large band of friends is today preparing to hold a special tribute evening in his memory.

The September 14 event at the Riverside Social Club in Stowmarket will raise funds for a memorial bench and plaque for the 17-year-old drowning victim.

His friends are selling tickets for the event and they want as many people who knew him as possible to come together to celebrate his life.

Ashley's mum, Samantha Cobbold, said her family had been overwhelmed by the kindness they had been shown by his friends.

She said: “It's really touching for us. Ashley would have been so proud to think his friends would do that for him.”

And his dad Jerry added: “He was such a nice lad and he's got some very good friends.”

One of the organisers of the fundraiser is Sam Robson, who went to Stowmarket Middle School with Ashley.

Sam, his brother Joe and their friends Chris and Jack Oates will play as their band Age of Consent while Brighton band Thank U Anyway - also featuring Sam - will also play.

Tickets are £3 before the event and £4 at the door.

Sam said: “We want everyone who knew Ashley to be there. We want to show him how much we miss him.”

Tickets can be booked by e-mailing or through Ashley's family and close friends.