THE family of a car crash victim who died the day before his 21st birthday have paid an emotional tribute – 12 months on from their tragic loss.
Stephen Bennett, fondly known to friends and family as “Beno”, was killed after his car span off the M55 Blackpool slip road in the early hours of August 27 last year.
Heartbreakingly, the Saints fan’s mum and dad, Ste and Eileen, brother-in-law Paul, sister Mandy, and fiancee Lisa, had all planned a special surprise birthday party for him the following day.
Dad Ste said: “It’s been 12 months now since the loss of our Beno. But it still only feels like yesterday and every day feels very raw for the family and his fiancee, Lisa.
“There’s a part in us all that went with Beno and our lives have not been the same, as they never will be ever again. You just have to get through each day the best you can.”
An inquest held earlier this year confirmed that Mr Bennett’s death was an accident, caused, in part, by bad weather conditions.
Now, his mum and dad have created a special memorial garden in the back yard of their home on Chiltern Road in Parr.
A plaque on the memorial stone reads: “A million times I’ve missed you. A million times I’ve cried. If love could have saved you, you never would have died.”
Mr Bennett’s family planned to release balloons in his memory yesterday (Tuesday) – on what would have been his 22nd birthday.
His sister, Mandy Kirby, added: “Beno was a well-liked lad and still has more than 1,000 friends on the RIP page on Facebook where people post memorial comments, which is lovely to see.
“On behalf of the whole family, and Lisa, we’d all like to thank our friends and the Horseshoe Pub for their support and comforting words throughout the last 12 months.”