The distraught parents of a 21-year-old cyclist, who was killed in a collision with a lorry, have spoken of their utter heartache.
Josh Jarvis died instantly in the incident in Manchester, where he was studying, last week.
Described as a ‘cheeky chappy who loved life’, Josh’s death has devastated his family and friends.
His parents, Simon and Alison, of Longhoughton, are now backing a campaign to eliminate lorry blind spots and help prevent further deaths.
Alison, 49, said: “Josh loved life and he lived it to the max.
“There was nothing he was frightened of, nothing he was frightened of doing.
“He was in his second year of studying film production at Manchester Metropolitan University and we were incredibly proud of what he had done and what he was going to do, but unfortunately that has all been taken away.”
Simon, 53, a retired policeman, added: “We are devastated that our son has been taken away with less than a quarter of his life lived.”
Alison, a midwife, said Josh had cycled every day since going to university and was given a new road bike for Christmas.
Since the collision, the family has been in touch with Kate Cairns, of Newton-by-the-Sea, whose sister Eilidh was killed in a similar incident in London, in 2009.
Kate, along with Eilidh’s friends and family, set up a campaign called See Me Save Me, to make it mandatory for lorries to be fitted with blind-spot sensors.
Simon and Alison have backed the initiative.
Alison said: “If we can do something to stop one more family having to sit like we are, absolutely broken-hearted, then something good has come from his death.
“We have got to do something. If cars can have reversing sensors at the back then why can’t sensors be put on the side of lorries?” Kate said: “It is heartbreaking to hear of the loss of Josh, and I have the greatest sympathy and sorrow for the Jarvis family and Josh’s friends.
“Even though I empathise, there is absolutely nothing to be said to give any comfort over yet another pointless, futile and avoidable death of one so young and at the prime of life.
“To happen to a family so close to home just re-enforces the fact that the devastation, caused by blind lorries, wreaks havoc right across the country and, in fact, right across Europe.”
Josh was very close to his parents , brother Sammy, 20, and sister Charlotte, 17.
He started school in Longhoughton before going to Lindisfarne Middle and the Duchess’s High School in Alnwick.
He was known for his performing and from a young age would sing and put on a show.
As a pupil at the Duchess’s he starred in Jesus Christ Superstar, among other productions, and his family always thought they would see him on the stage.
But Alison said: “His main passion was behind the camera.
“His tutor said his cinematography skills were second to none and that he could see things that other people couldn’t see, which is something that can’t be taught.
“He had a gift but he won’t be able to use it.”
Josh was part of a big friendship group at home and at university, describing himself as the ‘social glue’. He was known for always helping others, but also making sure that everything was fair.
At university he met his girlfriend, Camilla Warburton, 19, from Hong Kong, who has been left devastated by his death.
Alison added: “She told me that she met Josh on the first day she got to university and had seen him every day since.”
Elspeth Patterson, 22, who became friends with Josh at high school, said: “It’s really hard to look back on Josh and be sad about it.
“Every time we think about him, it is with a smile on our faces.
“That is the hardest thing, he was so full of life. The last time we were all together we were in the pub and I wanted to go home early, but Josh made me stay and he said, ‘who knows when we will all be together again’.
“Josh would go a mile out of his way to do you a favour.
“I was doing the same course as him but in London and he was so supportive and helpful.
“He loved everyone being together and he always came out with really cheesy lines.
“When his name was in the Jesus Christ Superstar review, in the Gazette he read it out to everyone he saw, he loved it.”
Elspeth added that all of Josh’s friends from home who have moved away for study or work are coming together for the funeral.
Josh’s university is also organising transport for his friends there to travel north to say goodbye.
And Alison said that the university has been ‘brilliant’ in supporting both the family and his friends.
Alison and Simon thanked everyone who has sent cards, flowers and offered support.
Greater Manchester Police are still investigating the collision.
Sergeant Lee Westhead, from the serious collision investigation unit, said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with this young man’s family as they try to come to terms with their loss.”
Josh’s funeral takes place tomorrow.
A private burial for family and close friends will be at Eshott, followed by a service celebrating his life at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Longhoughton at 4pm to which everyone is welcome.
The family has asked for no flowers but for donations to be made to the See Me Save Me campaign.