Friends and teachers remember Barnstaple teenager

Joseph Bulmer

Tributes continue to pour in for 18-year-old Charlie Hedge

BARNSTAPLE is still in shock following the death of teenager Charlie Hedge and a flood of tributes have continued to pour in for the former Park Community School pupil.

The entrance to the school is still a sea of flowers and messages in memory of the well-liked 18-year-old, whose body was found at a house in Portland Street on Monday afternoon of last week. Police said the death was not being treated as suspicious.

Thousands have left messages on Charlie’s Facebook page, describing him as cheerful, fun and outgoing, as well as on a special tribute page entitled “RIP Charlie Hedge,” which more than 2,300 people have indicted their like for.

It describes him as “a legend who will always live on and will never be forgotten! Touching so many hearts, you will always be remembered and never forgotten…”

Via the social networking site friends and well-wishers arranged to meet outside Park School at 12 noon on Wednesday, with upwards of 80 people turning out to place flowers and hold a silent vigil.

Headteacher David Atton described the scene as “amazing” and said afterwards they asked if they could have an impromptu kick about on one of the all weather pitches in memory of keen footballer Charlie.

“I think from all that has been said Charlie was a young man who touched many lives and wherever he was he made it a better, happier and more fun place for people to be,” said Mr Atton.

“On his last school report his tutor of the day wrote: Charlie works tirelessly for the good of others as a prefect and a charity representative.

“He was always cheerful, friendly and had a good sense of humour. Wherever he was he had a very positive impact on the people around him.

“Our thoughts at this most difficult of times are with his family.”

A school friend who had gone to visit the memorial told the Gazette: “He made everybody laugh, he was the life and soul of the party.

“He would do anything for anybody and he was really good at sports, he loved his football. He was well loved by everybody and he had a lot of mates.”

Charlie was well known for donning fancy dress outfits for a night on the town in Barnstaple and a number of the tributes both online and at the school show him having a good time with friends on a night out.

On Facebook, Hannah Loder wrote: “There’s no words to describe how much everyone will miss you. It still doesn’t seem real. I don’t think you ever understood how many people love and care for you.”

Tash Cooper said: “You will be sorely missed by so many that loved you, you touched so many people’s hearts I’m going to miss the smiling face around the high streets.”

Karen Freeman, a mother of one of his friends, added: “You clearly were well liked and will be missed and I hope you’ve found peace. I feel so upset by this, as will all other parents reading this page, my sincere wishes go to all your family and friends. God speed.”

Maggie Birchmore is secretary of Barnstaple Youth Football Club, that Charlie spent two seasons with when he was younger.

“All the lads knew him,” she said. “He was a lovely kid, he made everybody laugh and he was willing, he wanted to learn and play football.”

The Coroner’s Office in Barnstaple said an inquest had been opened and adjourned, the date for the hearing to be fixed at a later date.