Skatepark scheme will be memorial to Axminster crash victim

PUBLISHED: 08:55 07 November 2012

Tom Chubb with friend Grace Herbert

Tom Chubb with friend Grace Herbert

Archant

‘The loss of a son or a daughter is an unbearable sorrow no parent should have to endure so…’

The Axminster parents of a teenage car crash victim say they are determined to harness the massive outpouring of love from friends to benefit the town.

East Devon District Councillor Iain Chubb and his wife Eve have decided all donations and any proceeds from fund raising events will be donated to help improve the Cloakham Lawns skatepark as a tribute and permanent memorial to their kind-hearted son, Tom, who used to spend a lot of his youth riding the ramps there on a BMX.

Described as a real-life “angel” or “legend”, who was an inspiration to others, the 18-year-old died when his black classic Porsche was in collision with a van while he was travelling towards Seaton last Wednesday night.

His tragic death has resulted in an amazing display of grief from hundreds of young friends, whose lives he touched.

Now his family plan to use that energy to help raise money for a permanent memorial through an improved skatepark.

They have already organised to sell rubber wristbands, at £1 each, from The Axe Valley Community College, where Tom was a former student. And it is hoped these will soon be available to buy from a town centre shop.

Following Tom’s tragic death tributes continue to flood in for a remarkable young man.

Dozens of bunches of flowers and bottles of his favourite cider were left on the verge near the junction to Trill, on the A358, where the accident happened, at around 10.30pm.

The next day some 70 young friends held an impromptu memorial evening for him at the Bottle Inn, in Marshwood, one of his favourite pubs.

And on Friday a convoy of 50 or 60 cars – along with dad Iain driving his son’s favourite silver VW Bora at the front - made the trip to Exmouth where around 200 of his pals gathered on the seafront to “laugh, cry, swap stories and lament their friend Tom”.

Mum Eve told The Herald: “We are going to make something positive happen from this. We want young people to come up with designs for improvements to the skatepark and take a pride in it.

“For me the most awesome thing is the sheer volume of his friends. He had a huge circle and linked them all together.”

She said messages of sympathy had led to one good friend having the words “gone but never forgotten” permanently tattooed on his back in tribute to Tom.

Dad, Iain, said Tom was a lad with “petrol running through his veins”, such was his love of cars.

The two had recently travelled to France and stayed at the Audi camp to watch the Le Mans 24 hour race.

Mr Chubb said: “The grief his friends are going through can be seen on his Facebook page. Tom brought people together and if they fell out he would always work out a way to bring them together again.

“Maybe he really was an angel, who was here to bring people together, maybe that was his job and maybe he has now been called to do the same job somewhere else. Tom was the one person who could always make you smile, he shared your hopes and dreams, he was always positive nothing was too much trouble always the shoulder to lean on or the brute strength to get that messy job done with a cheeky smile.

“If Tom was in your life it was a better place to be, he had a reason for living a love for life and its rich tapestry of individuals that make it up, we are just left looking up at you.”

Tom was educated at Musbury Primary School before going on to the Axe Valley Community College, which his brother Edward, 15, now attends.

He was studying spraying and panel beating at Exeter College Motor Department and had been working locally on car body repairs and helping his father in the motor trade.

Tribute stickers have been printed to put on cars and VW belt buckles are being worn to commemorate his love for the car brand.

Meanwhile hundreds are expected to pack the parish church at Axminster for Tom’s funeral on Wednesday, November 14, at 11am.

Donations for the skatepark may be given at the service or sent to W G Potter, Funeral Directors, Williams Potter House, 5 West Street, Axminster, EX13 5NX.

* Police are appealing for witnesses to the collision in which Mr Chubb died.

The driver and passenger of the white van involved in the crash escaped serious injury.

Police want to hear from anyone who witnessed the collision, or the events leading up to it, to contact them on 101 quoting log number 846 311012.

** Tributes to Tom have flooded in to his social networking page.

One read: “Rest in peace angel, you will be truly missed by everyone. You were such a kind-hearted person who didn’t have a bad word to say about anyone. You didn’t deserve this. We love and miss you – sleep tight.”

Another said: “You will be sorely missed…just can’t believe you’re gone. Our thoughts go out to your family”.

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