Family, friends and schoolmates gathered to pay an emotional tribute to a teenager who touched the hearts of many. Matt Dean, 15, died after being hit by a van as he walked along an unlit country road. Last Thursday, his friends and family, including a

Matt Dean

Family, friends and schoolmates gathered to pay an emotional tribute to a teenager who "touched the hearts" of many.

Matt Dean, 15, died after being hit by a van as he walked along an unlit country road.

Last Thursday, his friends and family, including a bus full of students and teachers from Longsands College in St Neots, where Matt was a pupil, gathered at Cambridge Crematorium to say their farewells.

At the service, Matt's father, Lloyd, described his son as someone with a cheeky grin who never failed to make him smile - and someone who would always stick up for people, no matter what.

Matt's name adorns a bottle-shaped wreath.

His mother, Paula, added that it was a "privilege to be his mum".

She said the teenager was an intelligent, independent thinker who was fun to be with, made everyone smile, and offered help and support to anyone who needed it.

Paula also described Matt, who liked rock and heavy metal music and played the guitar, as the most laid-back goalkeeper she had seen.

She said: "When the ball was at the opposite end of the pitch, he would stand with his hands in his pockets, staring at the ground.

"He insisted he'd be ready when the ball headed in his direction."

Bunches of flowers, including some in the shape of a guitar, were laid outside the crematorium.

In her eulogy, Paula said she hoped her son may have found himself in a heaven "that's really rocking, where the angels need earplugs".

She added: "Most of us feel cheated. We feel that Matt has been taken from us too soon. Some people live to be 100 and will never touch as many hearts as Matthew did."

She asked Matt's friends to "be a living memorial" to her son by trying to do the things he did, and helping people when they are in need.

Guns 'n' Roses' Sweet Child Of Mine was played at the end of the service as a tribute to Matt.

He had been making his way to Toseland to meet a friend when he was struck by a van just yards from his home in Yelling, on Friday, January 5.

A police spokesman said an investigatiion into the incident was on-going.

INFORMATION: Money is being collected for a memorial bench in memory of Matt at Longsands College. To make a donation, contact the college on 01480 353535.