A GRIEVING mother paid tribute to her ‘perfect’ son at a public balloon release in memory of teenager Ashley Mckinnon, who died earlier this month.
The 17-year-old fell from the top floor of the Wyvern car park on February 13.
More than 100 friends and family gathered near to St Mary’s Church in Moredon to release yellow balloons in memory of Ashley.
Grieving mum Sam Butcher is given a hug
His mother, Sam Butcher, 41, tried to give a speech to the crowd before the release but was overcome with grief.
Afterwards she said: “He was like any other teenager in that he had his ups and downs but when he was up he was absolutely perfect. Ashley had so many good features and it was a privilege to know him.
“He is someone who would do anything for anyone and he will be missed so much by everyone. When I first heard about it I could not believe it and it is only now it’s sunk in that he’s gone.”
People of all ages came out to take part in the ceremony with the sun coming out just in time and the wind taking the balloons into the sky.
“I’m absolutely overwhelmed with the number of people who have taken the time out to come down and pay their respects,” said Sam. “It just goes to show how popular Ashley was and that so many people will miss him. I want to thank everyone for coming down today. It was a fitting tribute.”
Even after the balloons were released his friends continued to arrive to share their memories about Ashley. The teenager had an interest in bricklaying and was soon to start at New College.
Among those in attendance was close friend Paige Woods, 17, who had known Ashley, above, for more than six years.
She said: “I have known Ashley since I was 11 and he was so much fun, playing pranks.
“He was so popular, which you can see by just how many people have come along today. I think it is something he didn’t realise at times.
“I was expecting about 30 people today but it’s great to see so many people have come along.”
In the days following the incident, a large number of flowers were placed at the car park, which is set to be demolished later this year.
The circumstances surrounding Ashley’s death are still being investigated so his body has yet to be released. Funeral details will be announced when that happens.