Tribute to tragic teenager

TEENAGER Ben Summerton's motorbike was the love of his life, but it was a passion that was to lead to his death.

TEENAGER Ben Summerton's motorbike was the love of his life, but it was a passion that was to lead to his death.

Today his grieving mother told of the “permanent and irreplaceable gap” left in her life after her beloved son was killed in a road accident, just days before his birthday.

Ben died yesterday after sustaining massive head injuries when his motorbike collided with a concrete post in Nacton Road, Ipswich at around 1.20am.

His mother, Wendy, said his bike had been the love of his life, providing the 19-year-old with freedom and independence.

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He had finished a late shift at the McDonald's restaurant in Ravenswood and had decided to take a detour on his way home when the accident took place.

His beloved Honda NSR 125 motorbike mounted a pavement before striking the post outside a house. Despite medics' desperate attempts to revive him, Ben died at Ipswich Hospital soon after. He would have turned 20 on Saturday.

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Wendy said: “Ben was a very special young man who was just beginning to be able to enjoy the world and plan a positive future.

“Ben struggled with many challenges during his short life and was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2003, but we, his family, were always there to support him and more recently, so was his beloved dog Leon.

“In November, he became the very proud owner of a Honda NSR 125 motorbike and this enabled Ben to be truly independent for the first time in his life, as he struggled to use public transport.

“His motorbike was the love of his life and he spent some of his happiest hours riding and caring for it.

“He liked to clear his head after working with a short ride in the peace of the night before returning home and this is when the accident happened.”

Ben, of Purdis Farm, worked at McDonald's but was in the process of finding a job working with animals and had recently sent off a dozen applications.

His mother said he loved animals and successfully completed his Advanced National Certificate in Animal Care at Otley College in the summer of 2008.

She added: “It was sometimes hard to get to know Ben, but once he had let you in he was fiercely loyal, loving and kind and his family adored him.

“Ben's loss will leave a permanent and irreplaceable gap in our family.”

A collision investigation is underway, and anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who has any information in relation to it is asked to call PC Richard Godden at the Serious Collision Investigation Team on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

STAFF at the Ravenswood McDonald's today told of their shock at Ben's death.

Mark Davis, Ravenswood McDonald's franchisee, said the 19-year-old had been a popular member of the team.

He said: “Ben started working for McDonald's as a part-time crew member in November 2007 and became a full-time employee six months ago. He was always hard working and liked by everyone in the restaurant.

“He was very friendly with a dry sense of humour. He was very loyal to his friends and always willing to help others whenever he could - both inside and outside of work.

“As a vegetarian, Ben loved animals, especially exotics. He also loved music and socialising with his friends.

“He will be sadly missed.

“The thoughts of us all are with Ben's family.”

Colleague Daniel Mitrovic added: “I worked with him and really couldn't have asked for a better colleague or mate.

“He'll really be missed by everyone.”

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