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Friday, 18 April 2014

‘Joseph was a diamond, tonight Barrow you shine so bright’

THE skies across Barrow were lit up in a spectacular lantern tribute for a teenager who died in an accident a week earlier.

Some 1,700 people gathered in Barrow on Saturday night to pay their respects to Joseph Took , 18, who died following a crash on his motorbike in Abbey Road on February 26.

The popular Walney lad was remembered by family and friends, and some who had never met him, by the release of paper lanterns and balloons from Furness Academy’s South Site playing fields.

The sky was filled with glowing orange lights, with some lanterns carrying touching hand-written messages, including: “RIP Joe Took, we will miss you, you have touched a lot of people’s hearts.”

Friends also sang “We love you Tooky”, which was welcomed with clapping. Fireworks also marked the occasion.

While there was cheerful banter as friends remembered Joseph, there were also tears and scenes of young people comforting one another.

Joseph’s family attended the vigil and were overwhelmed by the spectacle in memory of their son and brother.

His father David Took, 49, said: “On behalf of my family I would like to thank the people of Barrow, especially the young ones, whether they knew Joseph or not, for this remarkable and wonderful, spectacular and awe inspiring tribute to our son and brother.

“Never in our lives did we think this would happen to us, but never in our lives have we seen a town come together to show their respect for the loss of one of Barrow’s young sons, it has totally restored our faith and respect for Barrow and its people, and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

“A special thanks to Gemma Murphy for organising this tribute, as we already know she has her own burdens at this time. Joseph was a diamond, but tonight Barrow you shine so bright.”

Gemma Murphy, 17, Joseph's friend who organised the memorial through Facebook, said: “I’m overwhelmed by the response. I’d known Joe since I was four. I thought this was a way for people to come and pay their respects.”

“I’ll always remember his big heart. Joe was the loveliest lad.”

Kieran Smith, 17, said: “Joe was one of my very good mates. He was an absolutely awesome lad. I’ll remember his willingness and his kindness.”

Dominic White, 17, said: “I knew Joe from skating with him. I wanted to come to pay my respects to him. This is really, really nice to see all these people.

“He had the best personality, he was generous and he had some of the best skills I’ve known.

“It’s absolutely horrible what has happened.”

A service to celebrate Joseph’s life takes place tomorrow at Thorncliffe Crematorium Chapel, Barrow at 10.45am.

lTribute video, www.nwemail.co.uk

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