Parents pay tribute to 'lovely boy' who plunged to death at abandoned Sheffield hotel

Thomas Rhodes
Thomas Rhodes
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The family of a teenager who plunged to his death at an abandoned Sheffield hotel have paid tribute to their 'lovely boy'.

Thomas Rhodes, who was in his first year studying geography at the University of Sheffield, fell to his death at Hallam Tower in Broomhill on Sunday, March 26, which was Mother's Day.

Hallam Tower

Hallam Tower

His heartbroken parents David and Carmel, along with 16-year-old sister Kate, have told how the 19-year-old was generous, loving and friendly to everyone he met.

"He was a lovely boy. Very kind and loyal," said Carmel at the family home in Melton, Leicestershire.

"The response from everyone has been absolutely overwhelming, from friends and people who knew Thomas from school.

“We’ve had lots of cards and it just shows how well loved he was."

Thomas, who had been sharing a flat with three girls, was a keen rugby player and a fan of Manchester United and Leicester Tigers RFC.

He enjoyed taking the family dog for walks and worked for three years at a toy shop in his home town.

His dad David said: "The university have been really, really good since it happened. They’ve given support to his flatmates and to his friends.

"Thomas was enjoying university life and doing well at his studies. We had a letter from a professor who taught him and he said how popular he was with everyone there."

"Thomas was exceptionally generous. He had a real interest in Third World countries and he wanted to help them and make the world a better place."

Kate told how she had been close to her brother, adding that he had 'really inspired me'.

"He was 19 and I am 16 so we had a lot of similar interests and he loved showing me new music to get into," she said.

"Even the distance, when he went to university, didn’t keep us apart because we were always FaceTiming each other.

"Thomas was so easy to get on with. He would talk to everyone and make friends with everyone."

A University of Sheffield spokesperson said it was 'deeply saddened' by Thomas' death and described him as a 'bright and popular student'.

Thomas' death prompted the distraught owners of Hallam Tower, which used to be a luxury hotel, to plead with so-called 'urban explorers' to stay away from the dilapidated building and other boarded-up sites for their own safety.

Fresh plans for housing at the site have since emerged.