Tragic teen's family speaks of grief

HEARTBROKEN relatives of a 17-year-old boy who was tragically killed in a car crash along with his schoolfriend have paid a loving tribute to his life.

HEARTBROKEN relatives of a 17-year-old boy who was tragically killed in a car crash along with his schoolfriend have paid a loving tribute to his life.

Lewis Pratt was a passenger in a Volkswagen Golf being driven by his friend Samuel Palmer when it was involved in a head-on collision.

The teenage boys died at the scene of the crash on the Somersham Road, Bramford on Wednesday night.

A mother and her eight-year-old daughter, travelling in a Seat, were also injured in the collision and taken to Ipswich Hospital, but their injuries are not believed to be serious.

Yesterday Lewis' parents Sheena and Jonathan said they would never forget their lively, happy-go-lucky son, whose most treasured possession and past-time was his Ford Escort car.

Mrs Pratt, 40, a bookkeeper and receptionist, said: "He was loved by so many people.

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"I'm going to miss him very, very much. We could never replace him. We just wish we could have him back. There are so many little things you just cannot express.

"He was a very affectionate boy. He would do anything for his mates and never let them down."

Mr Pratt, 47, a stainless steal fabricator, added: "It was a pleasure to have him as a boy. He was great."

Lewis, from Castle Road, Offton, who formerly attended Claydon High School, was forging a career for himself at Palmer Fencing, which is based about 300 yards from where the accident happened.

The first Mrs Pratt knew of the tragedy was when she travelled past the scene and saw police had blocked off the road.

"I thought they were out for people speeding. I just had this awful feeling and had to ask the police what happened," she said.

"They said they'd been an accident and I said how bad was it and that I was really worried about my son."

Mrs Pratt frantically tried to contact her son's mobile phone but nobody answered.

"It just rang and rang. I thought he would have the music up really loud and wouldn't hear it," she said.

"I thought I was being silly and paranoid. I got stuck into some work and forgot about it until the police came round. I thought it was going to be okay. It was such a shock."

Lewis leaves older brother Dan, 18, and sisters Nikki, 15, and Kathryn, 11.

"He was very happy. He did what he wanted to do. I wish I could have spent more time with him but the times we did have together were good fun. I will miss him very, very much," said Dan.

Nikki, who attends Claydon High School, remembered how popular her brother had been with the girls. "He was a joker. He was very happy," she said.

Kathryn added: "I will miss him lots."

Lewis had joined Palmer Fencing as an apprentice straight after leaving high school.

Kelvin Larcombe, director of the company, said: "It's a very difficult time for everybody. He was a nice lad who was doing his best to create a career for himself. Everyone is very shocked and saddened."

Seventeen-year-old Samuel Palmer, from Springfield Road, Lower Somersham, had worked as an apprentice mechanic for about a year at Somersham Garage, after leaving Claydon High School.

David Haughton, owner of the garage, said yesterday : "It's a great loss and very, very sad. They were a pair of nice lads. It really is such a waste."

Headteacher of Claydon High School, Beth Soule, said: "They brought a great sense of fun to our community and they are remembered by everyone with great affection. We are thinking of the families and we offer our sincere condolences."

An off-duty paramedic discovered the crash at about 7.20pm on Wednesday.