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Friends gather at Hedge End Retail Park to pay tribute to Dean Paling and Tom Emery
7:22am Wednesday 4th December 2013 in News
HUNDREDS of friends gathered to pay a poignant tribute to two friends who died in a horrific road crash.
Cars, vans and bikes crammed into Hedge End Retail Park and pals even erected a shrine to the memory of of Dean Paling and Tom Emery.
It featured car badges, wing mirrors and photos.
Tom, 24, and Dean, 23, died when the Mitsibushi lancer they were in came of the B2177 Southwick Road near the village of Boarhunt on Monday night.
The car parks around McDonald’s and KFC were chosen as the venue because Dean, below, from Botley, spent so much time in the area in his cars, including a red Peugeot 106 and his most recent, a blue Renault Clio.
After letting off lanterns into the night sky in their memory, the mourners returned en masse to the scene of the crash near the village of Boarhunt as a final drive-by salute.
Passers-by were left stunned by the huge gathering, with huge groups of friends and simply people who had heard of the event and wanted to pay their respects.
Michael Harris, 26, from West End, who was close to both Tom,below, and Dean, said the pair would be “massively missed”.
He said: “I was best mates with Tom and good friends with Dean and they used to come down my garage all the time. I used to go out on my boat with Tom and we would take trips to Le Mans together.“ They got on really well with everyone and this has just not sunk in yet. It’s pretty crazy really.”
Kalum Cozens, 20, a salesman from West End, also recalled Tom, from Southampton, as a Saints devotee, fondly remembering going together to Wembley to watch the 2010 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy where the club won 4/1 against Carlisle.
He added: “Tom also loved his cars and would always be around them.
“Seeing everyone here tonight would make him really happy.
“He was such as a nice guy who would never hurt a fly, a lovely guy.”
Michael added: “I was only just with Tom on Sunday as we played five-a-side football and then went out in the evening for a drive in his Mitsubishi, which he only got recently.”
Electrical engineer Daniel Bradford grew up with Dean, and was a classmate at Berrywood Primary and Wildern schools, where the latter was a prefect.
Mr Bradford, 23, of Botley, said: “I’m shell-shocked and I’m really going to miss him.
It’s weird knowing I’m never going to see him again.
“He could be an irritating pest as he was always looking to pull a prank on you but if he was around you knew you were going to have a good time. If this were for anybody else tonight he would be down here too.”
Jack Davies, 23, from Hedge End, said he will always remember his infectious laugh and also his cough which came as part of his cystic fibrosis.
He said: “He would always make a mockery of it [his condition] and always said to us it would never get him, and he was right.”
Friend Bradley Ayrton Abela, 23, from Hedge End, said: “He always put his condition to the back of his mind and would not let it hold him back.”
Fellow school friends Colleen Barfoot and Lucy Hendry added a Renault Clio handbook to the shrine to pay tribute to Dean.
Colleen, 23, of Hedge End, said: “I was trying to eat my breakfast this morning and I couldn’t because I was crying.
Everyone knew of Dean around here. He had a heart of gold and I think we are all shaken up.”
Dean was also well known for his P444LNG licence plate, a nod to his surname, and a modified version of the plate was also tied above the shrine, with RIP added.
Police were on the scene briefly but made no attempt to stop the memorial and two ambulances also turned up, beeping their horns in another apparent tribute to the pair.
Meanwhile Tom was remembered as a very friendly man who was following in his father’s footsteps with his passion for cars.
Friend Chloe Ribbans, 19, said: “He was his own man and made his own way but he followed his dad as he had his own garage. He was amazing and was always sorting my car radio out.”
David Gregory, 22, of Hedge End added: “Tom loved his dog Benson and was always talking about him.”
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