A heartbroken mum whose son died in a road crash just seconds away from his home said today: “I’d give my life up just to have my boy back with us.”
Josh Tyler, aged 16, of Hepworth Drive, Swallownest, near Sheffield, was travelling home on his scooter when he was in a collision with a car.
Mum Julie Henley-Smith, speaking before Josh’s funeral tomorrow, said: “He would always let us know when he would be late so it was strange that we hadn’t heard anything past half ten.
“At five to 11 his Dad went out to look for him and within seconds he rung me and told me to get out here.
“I don’t know why I thought it but the first thing I said was ‘please tell me Josh isn’t in an accident’ and he said ‘I think it is, yeah’.
“He was on his way home and he would have been on time. Josh didn’t deserve any of this. I’d give my life up today just to have my boy back with us.”
A Facebook group set up just hours after his death has been joined by nearly 2,000 people with tributes posted daily.
Julie said: “The Facebook group keeps me going, it’s all I do and it brings us all so much comfort. We had no idea just how popular he was. He never bragged about how many friends he had got or the people that he knew.
“We’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone, you’ve all done so much for us.
Josh, a pupil at Aston Academy and a lover of bikes, scooters and 4x4s, was looking forward to starting his apprenticeship in engineering and fabrication.
Josh’s mum, dad Ray and sister Jodie said they planned a ‘special send off’ for the teenager tomorrow at 3pm at Aston Church.
Julie said: “It’s a special send off for my boy. He’s suffered way too much and deserves to go out knowing how much he’s loved. I’m going to make sure that he’s remembered every chance we can.”
The family plan to take some of Josh’s’ ashes to Thailand as he planned to go before he died.
The whole family had just returned from Turkey – their first holiday abroad together – before the tragedy struck.
Julie said: “Josh absolutely loved it, he was in his element. He said on the plane coming home ‘next time we go away mum you can pay for the extra leg room’ because of how tall he was.”
His older sister Jodie said: “He was a comedian, he was cheeky, he used to crack jokes all the time. He was so sarcastic and really clever with words.
“The stand out thing for me was the way he used to wind me up like he did mum, he knew what buttons to press. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Julie added: “When his Dad works away he looked after me because it was only me and him in house.”
South Yorkshire Police said enquiries are continuing into the crash at 10.20pm on April 17.