I'm so proud of my son in life and death

Jamie Griffin had the world at his feet before his tragic death in June last year. Just 17 years old, the apprentice carpenter was a keen sportsman who won friends easily and was worshipped by his younger brother, sisters and parents.

Jamie Griffin had the world at his feet before his tragic death in June last year.

Just 17 years old, the apprentice carpenter was a keen sportsman who won friends easily and was worshipped by his younger brother, sisters and parents.

At his funeral in Dersingham, more than 1,000 mourners packed into St Nicholas's Church to pay their last respects to the "sunshine man".

It was a moment his father, Marty, will never forget.

"That is the worst thing in the world, to have to bury your child," he said. "But on the day of his funeral, I was the proudest person on the planet. To see so many people there to say goodbye was just wonderful.

"I was extremely proud of him both in life and death."

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Jamie spent the last few hours of his short life revising for a driving test he would never be able to take.

Walking home with a group of friends from the pub on June 3, he was knocked over by a car which had lost control and careered off the road.

In the same accident, his best friend Jade Rand suffered serious injuries and would later have part of her leg amputated.

The news brought Dersingham to a standstill and changed their families' lives forever.

"I was absolutely devastated," said Marty. "I know every parent would say it but he really was an absolutely ideal child. He was loving, caring and, particularly in his teenage years, he became very, very interested in boxing and was about to get involved in some bouts.

"I don't suppose my life will ever be the same again."

In response to the accident, villagers in west Norfolk set about raising more than £7,500 for the Neuro-Science Critical Care Unit at Addenbrookes.

Marty and Julie Smith, Jamie's mother, also helped establish the Jamie Griffin Memorial Fund in memory of their son.

"People in Dersingham were absolutely fantastic immediately after we lost Jamie," said Marty.

"Over 1,000 people attended his funeral, that's a mark of the man. He had lots of friends and would never speak ill of anybody. I was very, very proud of him, I really was.

"Today, over a year after losing my son, you will always see at least 10 bunches of flowers at his graveside together with candles always alight.

"Neither his Mum nor I appreciated how many hearts he touched during his short life."