Tributes to a remakable 17-year-old

DEVASTATED friends and family today said goodbye to a 17-year-old who "filled people's lives with fun and laughter".The funeral of 17-year-old Henry Webb was to take place at St Joseph's College, the school he had attended since the age of eight.

DEVASTATED friends and family today said goodbye to a 17-year-old who "filled people's lives with fun and laughter".

The funeral of 17-year-old Henry Webb was to take place at St Joseph's College, the school he had attended since the age of eight.

His mother, Ipswich Town secretary Sally Webb, today spoke of her son's numerous talents and love of life.

She said: "I thought that he was special, as any mother should and would, but I now know that he was special to so many people.

"From the cards and letters of condolence we have had, and still continue to come, one fact shines through - that Henry filled other people's lives with fun and laughter. His larger than life personality, coupled in the last few years with his size and stature and physical strength enabled him to fill a room with his presence."

Mrs Webb said her son always wanted to make the most of his life and after years of persistence overcame dyslexia and became a popular student at St Joseph's.

Most Read

She added: "His IQ was 128 which indicated excellent academic potential."

Henry's hobbies included rugby and shooting and he was an England International in clay pigeon shooting.

In the Home International Championships in Donegal, Ireland, last August he became the junior British Champion, aged 16, and was ranked fourth overall in the UK.

Mrs Webb added: "My son was so proud to wear his England tracksuit and cap. We teamed up with the rest of the party and they shot their way to glory."

When Henry had shot 75, without fault, we sat in the car having a break and he said to me if he was able to shoot the maximum 100 then his team would want to shoot his cap, the tradition when you first shoot your 100.

"Of course being so proud of his cap he was torn between wanting the 100 and keeping the cap. I assured him that the England selection board would allow us to purchase another cap, and off he went.

"I could not watch, he hated me being too near, so I stood at the top of the hill out of the way and saw every clay break in the sky. He had won his prize, he told me that he would win something one day and make me very proud, he fulfilled his promise."

Henry progressed in life quickly, eating steak at 18 months and driving a D8 digger at the age of five.

His mum added: "As a young child he always wanted to sprint before he could run.

"He was hungry from the day he was born until the day he died. Hungry for food and hungry for life.

"We spoke many times of waiting to do things, and not to try and do it all at once. My husband said if you do it all now there will be nothing left for later. My view was slightly different as I had lost my only brother when he was 18-years-old and so I knew that life sometimes does not allow you to wait and plan for the future."

A member of Wix Young Farmers, Henry was working on a farm in his home village of Bradfield at the time of his death.

He was enjoying the summer job and left the farm for breakfast on the morning of July 28.

Just minutes from his home, his black Aprilia scooter collided with a car and Henry died.

His mum added: "Living in a village with a limited bus service I agreed for him to have a motorbike, we had it for six months before he could ride it on the road.

"He, I and a friend all took our Compulsory Basic Training test on Henry's 16th birthday.

"The bike, on which he did so many miles, enabled him to be independent. He was able to get to his shooting practice without me, see his friends and enjoy life."

Henry also owned a Land Rover and enjoyed driving off-road.

He was just two weeks away from taking his driving test when he died.

Mrs Webb added: "Our first Land Rover he used as a giant Mechano set, the second one we have now was his and he had a trolley jack for Christmas and changed the wheels on Christmas morning for rugged sporty new ones.

"Off-roading was his passion, and one of his great desires had been fulfilled, the purchase of a monster winch for the front."

Henry also helped make improvements to the family's garden in Station Road, Bradfield.

Mrs Webb added: "He laid part of the path in the garden and my husband never altered the little errors which made it not quite perfect, now we are so glad of that."

Howard Webb, Henry's father, is an engineer and took his son to construction sites where he developed a love of heavy machinery.

Henry travelled to India and Brazil where his father worked and enjoyed sampling other cultures.

Mrs Webb added: "Henry had fished in the Atlantic for salmon, dived in the Caribbean and off Mauritius, jet skied in Florida; seen giant manta rays from under water and skied down mountains in Italy, Austria and France. "Adventure holidays, whilst I was working, gave him the opportunity to sail, windsurf, pot hole, rock climb and play a multitude of sports.

"He had his own boat at 12 and went off with his friends from Bradfield beach pottering up and down the river. He was up for anything and everything."

Despite his mother's job at Ipswich Town, Henry was not keen on football and preferred rugby, playing for St Joseph's first XV.

He was an only child and his mum said she had never wanted more children.

She added: "I always told him that perfection comes only once, he was a gift to us, on loan, now forever free but held in our hearts until we meet again."

Henry's funeral was due to take place at St Joseph's College Chapel at 12.30pm today.

Friends from his Wix Young Farmers' group, Parkfield Shooting Club, and the school were expected to turn out as well as Mrs Webb's friends from the football club.

Following Henry's cremation at Ipswich Crematorium, a gathering was to be held at the Galleria at Ipswich Town Football Club.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter