Sister of 'one-of-a-kind' Sheffield schoolboy killed in flood plans to name first child in his memory

Ryan Parry (right) as a young boy with his older siblings Abby and Danny
Ryan Parry (right) as a young boy with his older siblings Abby and Danny
0
Have your say

A decade after a 'one-of-a-kind' Sheffield schoolboy was swept to his death in the 2007 flood, his loving sister plans to name her first child in his memory.

Ryan Joe Parry, from Gleadless, died on June 25, 2007, aged 14, after being dragged under water by the raging torrent while playing in a swollen river in Millhouses Park.

Ryan Parry pictured with schoolfriends in Millhouses Park minutes before he was swept to his death in the 2007 flood

Ryan Parry pictured with schoolfriends in Millhouses Park minutes before he was swept to his death in the 2007 flood

His family this week paid tribute on the anniversary of his death to the 'mischievous', 'happy-go-lucky' youngster.

His parents are expecting their first grandchild any day now, and Ryan's older sister Abby, aged 25, intends to give her son the same middle name 'Joe' as her little brother had.

Ryan's dad Chris said: "Ryan and Abby were really close and it's a lovely tribute. She was due last week and it would have been fitting in a way if he had been born on the Sunday (the 10th anniversary of Ryan's death)."

The antiques dealer also spoke about the family's struggles with their grief and told how much people's condolences and stories of Ryan's countless acts of kindness had meant to them at the time and ever since.

Ryan pictured with his first scooter

Ryan pictured with his first scooter

"We only found out after Ryan died that there was an autistic child at the bottom of the road and Ryan used to go down and help them all the time," said Chris.

"We also learnt how he had helped old ladies with their shopping, and it meant a lot to hear all those stories.

"He was just that kind of child. You meet certain people in life who you know you'll never find anyone like that again, and he was one of them. He was one of a kind."

Ryan's mum Mandy told how she still visits his grave most weeks and often attaches Scooby-Doo balloons because that was his favourite cartoon as a child.

Ryan with the family dog

Ryan with the family dog

While Ryan and Chris find it hard to visit the memorial in Millhouses Park, Abby and Ryan's older brother Danny, aged 30, visit regularly to lay flowers.

Ryan was keen on jiu-jitsu and was interested in becoming an electrician, though his dad believes he would have followed him into the antiques trade because he had the 'gift of the gab'.

But Mandy said his real interest was in other people.

"He liked people and he was a happy-go-lucky child," she said.

"He had a permanent smile attached to his face. You could fall out with him and five minutes later he would be back smiling.

"He was mischievous and always doing something he shouldn't have. He loved life.

"It's difficult watching his friends around here grow up because you wonder what Ryan would have been like and what he would have done."

Ryan had been making his way home from King Ecgbert School in Dore, his school bus having been cancelled due to the flood, on the afternoon he died.

His parents still cherish the book of condolences put together by his former schoolmates.

The moving messages recall his 'cheesy smile', his 'cheekiness', the hugs he handed out liberally and, above all, his sense of fun.

One old school mate described him as 'the funniest person' and another as 'the amazing fun-loving guy who always brightened up my day'.

Ryan was a good swimmer but his mum said he stood 'no chance' against the raging current he encountered that day.

Mandy said she found it especially difficult hearing about other people drowning, especially when a boy who was called Ryan died recently.

She urged people if they were in any doubt to 'stay away' from rivers and open water, given the dangers they pose even to competent swimmers.