THE parents of a teenager who died in a tragic accident have been inspired to support other bereaved families in Wyre Forest.
Stephanie and Rob Jones, of Walton Close in Kidderminster, lost their son, Joshua Jones, in May and have set up the organisation Josh’s Prayers as his legacy.
The group will offer financial assistance to people in Wyre Forest who have experienced similar tragedies, helping to lessen the burden of burial or cremation arrangements for families at a difficult time.
Rob Jones, who grew up in Stourport before moving to Kidderminster, said: “Organising Josh’s funeral was both stressful and expensive for us and it was only through the generosity of the local community that we were able to cope.
“The help we received from people and businesses, especially in Stourport, has amazed me so much and I don’t know what we would have done without it.
“However, not everyone is lucky enough to have this level of support and planning a funeral can create massive problems and pressure for relatives when they should be concentrating on grieving for their loved ones. That is why we have set up Josh’s Prayers.”
Josh’s accident happened on Wednesday, May 21.The talented 18-year-old trainee mechanic was working underneath a car when the axle stand feet buckled and the vehicle fell on top of him.
He suffered life-threatening injuries and after seven days in intensive care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham lost his fight for survival on Wednesday, May 28.
Stephanie Jones described her son as “a beautiful person inside and out”, whose “smile lit up a whole room”.
She added: “He was just a lovely, bubbly, outgoing and kind-hearted young man. If people were ever upset it was Josh who could cheer them up and make them happier and he was well known and loved in his local area.”
Josh, who lived with his parents, was a familiar face in Stourport due to his job at the Playland Fun Park.
His name will live on in the town through a memorial bench at the children’s fair and a commemorative garden on Manor Road, the site of the accident.
The funeral at St Michael and All Angels church in Stourport on June 12 also showcased the popularity of the young man, as hundreds of mourners attended to pay their respects.
A motorbike and go-kart escort for the hearse and a red, white and blue theme featured in the memorial service in recognition of Josh’s love of both racing and the Union Flag.
Stephanie Jones, who has four other children, said: “It sounds strange to say but it was an amazing, special funeral.
“So many young people turned up to remember Josh and they should be very proud of the way they honoured their friend.”
Josh’s Prayers, which is overseen by a committee, is currently fundraising for its work and has organised its first event, a sponsored man versus food challenge, which will take place on Saturday, August 30.
Rob Jones, who is encouraging members of the public to turn up and support the fundraiser, said: “It is going to be really fun and everybody watching will be laughing and smiling, which is what Josh would have wanted.
“Twelve people are taking part and there is going to be a twist that will entertain the crowds.”
The committee is hoping to further boost its budget through a sponsored slimming contest, raffles and the sale of remembrance wristbands, while several Stourport businesses, including the Playland Fun Park, S Fest musical festival, Co-operative Funeralcare and Wilson’s traditional fish and chips shop are also actively supporting the cause.
To find out more about the group, donate or suggest your own fundraising ideas, contact JoshPrayer@hotmail.com or visit facebook.com/joshsprayersforbereavedparents