A FAMILY have paid an emotional tribute to a Canvey teenager who had “a heart of gold”.

The mother and sister of Denny Richardson, 17, who died after a motorbike crash on May 2, said they have been overwhelmed with the amount of support they have received from his friends.

A memorial for Denny, which was initially started at the scene of the crash, has since been moved to the bee statue in Canvey Central Park.

Sam Ramplin, Denny’s mother, said a host of Denny’s friends have visited the memorial every day since it was moved at the weekend.

She has paid tribute to her son, describing him an “old soul” who had a huge amount of knowledge and love for people.

She said: “He was fearless, absolutely fearless, he had so much pride.

“He loved animals, through his life he would rescue so many and help them. We had two German Shepherds before, and he would give them a bath, tend to them, he was so caring for them.

“It was a heart of gold he had. He would always be asking if I needed help, getting petrol money, always making sure I was okay.

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“But he was years ahead of his time, he had an old soul, he had knowledge of so many things, like the Second World War, Pearl Harbour, the Titanic.

“Mechanics was a big part of him. He could take apart a car and build the engine back into it again. “He had so much more knowledge than I have.

“We were in the process of moving to Spain. He would’ve been near his family, and probably would have gone into an apprenticeship in mechanics.”

Denny is a former pupil of Castle View School on the island, having lived on Canvey for most of his life.

He was a keen driver, having passed his practical test three weeks after turning 17.

He has one sister on Canvey, Summer Ramplin, along with two other sisters and a brother. His father Paul Richardson lives in Spain, where Denny would spend a lot of his time.

His mum added: “He was wonderful, he would give a lot of people lifts everywhere, he was always out and about. We all miss him terribly, I visit his memorial every day, I’m still struggling through it, but coming here, seeing how much love there is for him, it gives me strength.

“It’s going to be very difficult for us all, a lot of his family in Spain are very upset, we’re due to be going to see them soon.

“Denny was such a free spirit; he was so independent and strong. Someone I know said he could be put on a desert island by himself, and he would be fine, he would survive, and he would live well.

Sister Summer Ramplin said: “We would often see his closest friends regularly, but we never really realised just how many people he knew, and how much they all cared about him. It’s been lovely to see so many that he helped and was close to.”

For Denny’s funeral, there are plans to have around three to four coaches to take people to Benfleet, with a police escort, before he is buried in Willow Cemetery on Canvey.

Ms Ramplin said potentially hundreds of people could attend. However, due to the ongoing police investigation into the crash a date has not been set.

She added: “We have people coming to this memorial every night, I’m down here most days, and it’s not just the young, we have everyone from 13 and 14-year olds to adults aged over 30.

“They’re absolutely no trouble at all, the candles here are lit every night. All of the flowers and tributes have been laid by them. They’re all going through the same thing; they’ve just lost their best mate.”

The crash was between a motorbike Denny was riding and a car.

It took place at 8.05pm on Leigh Road.

Another 17-year-old, who was riding with Denny, was rushed to hospital with serious injuries and is recovering. Call Essex Police on 101 with information quoting reference number 1186 on May 2.

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