Lasting memorial to tragic teenager

A MEMORIAL bench has been erected to commemorate the life of a teenager who died in a freak accident on holiday.

John Howard

A MEMORIAL bench has been erected to commemorate the life of a teenager who died in a freak accident on holiday.

This month Ashley Surtees from Stowmarket should have been celebrating his 18th birthday with his family and friends.

Instead his loved ones gathered to erect a beautiful memorial bench in his memory at the lakeside where he used to enjoy fishing.

Ashley died on July 11 last year in a swimming accident while he was on holiday with his family and girlfriend Shireen Halls in Gran Canaria.

His parents, Samantha and Jerry Cobbold, of Walnut Tree Walk, Stowmarket praised all his friends who have rallied round and helped raise the funds to buy the seat for the lake at Riverside Fisheries in Onehouse in memory of their son.

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The former Stowmarket Middle School pupil used to spend hours at the lake catching carp and would enjoy fishing with his brother, 23-year-old Lee Surtees.

The area is surrounded by a brick wall with an inscription which reads “In loving memory of Ashley Surtees. A great angler and good friend. Always in our thoughts and sadly missed.”

The seat was paid for through a memorial gig in the town and a collection, and the family are now hoping to donate the spare money to charities that were close to their son's heart.

Money given at Ashley's funeral has been donated to the East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) and the Blue Cross animal shelter.

Mr Cobbold, who works for ICI in the town, said: “It's fantastic that this has been done for Ashley and it is good to know that when your back is to the wall there are people out there thinking of you.

“It has been a difficult time and we want to say thank you to all his friends who raised the money in his memory and for building the wall.

“He had such a bright future. He had been at Otley College and had represented them at the Suffolk Show.

“This is an accident that should not have happened, he was a fine young lad. As birthdays come round or anniversaries, it is hard for us. In many ways we had the perfect life before.”

Mrs Cobbold, a hairdresser, said: “Our family and friends have been so good to us and given us a lot of comfort, to know that Ashley is still being thought of.

“We are a close-knit family, but it is hard to deal with it all. It's just so cruel when he was so young. This is the worst thing that has ever happened, everything else seems trivial now.”

Pauline Smith, owner of the fishery, has put a bridge over the lake which she is calling “Ashley's Bridge” and plans to plant daffodils in his memory.

She said: “He was a nice lad, the kind you would be proud to have as your own son. He was always down here in the summer and as soon as he had caught a fish he was happy and would be gone.”

Ashley, who was diagnosed with dyslexia, previously attended The Priory School in Bury St Edmunds, and had just completed his first year of a bricklaying course at college and was dreaming of securing an apprenticeship.

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