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Christian Chandler: Telford family's heartbreak at losing our 'really special boy'

By Mat Growcott | Telford | News | Published:

The family of a 13-year-old Telford schoolboy who died after being hit by a bus have spoken of their heartbreak at losing their "really special" boy.

Christian Chandler was riding his bike to school in Haybridge Road, Hadley, from his home in Chockleys Meadow, Leegomery, just after 8am on Monday when the accident happened.

The Ercall Wood Technology College pupil was flown by air ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where he died.

Christian's uncle Samuel Brooks said how Christian “was really active, loved the latest consoles at Christmas".

"He was always outside, messing about. He was a really special boy,” he said.

Floral tributes left at the scene of the tragedy

Mr Brooks spoke of the difficulties the family have faced in the days since his death, and of the hope offered by generous donors who have helped raise more than £8,000 towards his funeral.

"The support everybody has been offering, it just helps that you know that people are out there that care," Mr Brooks said.

"All the beautiful messages, the memories people are sharing and also the amount of strangers who have donated because of how sad Christian's story is. It's amazing.

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"The JustGiving page has given me something to concentrate on, it's really helping me deal with my grief. It's helping Christian's siblings as well to see the nice things people are saying about him."

Police at the crash scene

Mr Brooks said the family wanted to send a message to the bus driver involved in the accident – that they didn't blame her for Christian's death.

"We know that she's going through a really difficult time," he said. "We don't want her to feel any guilt about what has happened. It was a freak accident.

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"We know it's going to affect her life forever and she's not going to be the same again. We want her to know that we are thinking about her."

Christian with his twin Luke, his little brother Oliver and older brother Joshua. Photo: JustGiving.

Mr Brooks said that he was making enquires about making the road Christian was hit on safer.

"I'm in the process of looking into the bike routes in the area," he said.

"To get to that school you've got to go down a lot of roads that are 40mph. I want to make sure the safety is there for the children. It's taken two children to die on that road before something has been done.

"I've got the local councillor's name and I'll be making contact with them. I'll also be contacting the school about bikes being checked for safety. It might stop another child getting hurt."

A fireworks vigil was held for Christian

His family gathered for a firework vigil as a send off to Christian on Wednesday. Samuel said they were amazed by how many people had turned up.

"We didn't expect as many people to turn up as there was," he said. "It was the community coming together and it was lovely to see everyone there."

“I’ve had people I don’t even know contact me out of the blue offering to help,” Mr Brooks added.

“There was a local lady whose career was in graphic design. She offered to create something beautiful for Christian’s order of service. We’ve had a car club in Telford offer to have a convoy in memory of Christian.

“It’s been amazing, people we don’t know offering condolences and sharing their own stories.”

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Plans for Christian’s funeral are already under way.

The family have raised more than £8,000 through a crowdfunding page on JustGiving, and will continue to raise money for the coming month.

Any money that is not spent on the funeral will be given to charity, including the Midlands Air Ambulance, which Mr Brooks said had worked diligently to try and save Christian’s life.

He said: “The fundraising is going to continue until the page closes in 27 days.

Anyone who wants to help can do so at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/samuel-brooks-3

A large crowd of people turned out for a fireworks display in honour of Christian on Wednesday night.

“He would have loved the display,” Mr Brooks said. “We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that attended.”

Tributes to Christian have continued to flood in on social media, including from his old school, Cheslyn Hay Sport and Community High School.

Katie Adams, deputy head at the school, said that Christian was a “much valued” member of the school.

“We are all deeply saddened by what has happened and the tragic loss of Christian’s life,” she said.

“He was a much valued member of our school community and had many friends here.

“We are supporting our pupils as they process what has happened and are happy to make a donation towards the crowdfunding appeal in his memory.

“I am sure a lot of parents from our community will be doing the same.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Kim Garner, a catering assistant at Princess Royal, sent her condolences via social media.

“I think everyone who has heard about this terrible loss here in Telford and beyond has been touched by sadness for this family,” she wrote.

“So moving to see all the lovely comments and offers of condolences and all the generous donations given to this young man’s family.”

Patricia Atkins wrote: “So very sorry to hear this devastating news of this young boy. It is heartbreaking for his parents, brothers and sister, family and friends. My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this very sad time.”

Deb Collier wrote: “Rest in peace young man. I can’t even start to imagine what your family are going through.”

Mat Growcott

By Mat Growcott
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter

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