Our warrior for underdogs’

Tragedy as teenager dies on an unlit country road A FAMILY last night spoke movingly of the talented teenager killed on a country road just yards from his home. Matt Dean, 15, was described as a warrior for the underdog who was destined for a glittering

Tragedy as teenager dies on an unlit country road

A FAMILY last night spoke movingly of the talented teenager killed on a country road just yards from his home.

Matt Dean, 15, was described as "a warrior for the underdog" who was destined for a glittering legal career.

The Longsands College pupil had been on his way to meet a friend when he was hit by a van in Toseland Road, Yelling, near the family home in the High Street. The accident happened at 9pm, on Friday, as he walked towards Toseland, between St Neots and Papworth, on a stretch of unlit road with no footpath. Paramedics and doctors tried to save his life but Matt died at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge. Last night, Matt's mother, Paula Dean, and stepdad Ken Doyle, described him as an all-rounder, a sports captain at school, and a bright boy predicted to get all grade As at GCSE. They said he wanted to study law and take his A-levels at Hills Road Sixth Form College.

His mother said: "He had a gift for maths and he could be very thoughtful and mature beyond his age. He taught me things about politics and ethical issues."

Ken said: "He was like a counsellor to his friends - he would always be there to support them when they needed him.

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"We didn't realise how many friends he had. He always stuck up for people - a warrior for the underdog. He was passionate about justice. He didn't like to see people not getting what they deserve."

Matt played for the school rugby team, often staying behind to take part in the training. Paula said: "He was on the school council and he was sports captain. He enjoyed doing new and exciting things. He was very adventurous.

"He enjoyed his flying lesson which he got for his birthday last year and he had done indoor sky diving - and at five he abseiled down Cheddar Gorge during a family holiday. He was very mischievous as a child but he would get away with anything because he had such a cheeky grin."

Paula said she had not worried about Matt going along an unlit stretch of road because he often walked to St Neots.

Matt, who would have been 16 on February 16, has two sisters, Sarah, 17, and Nicole, 14. His father, Lloyd, lives in Berkshire.

Students and staff at Longsands, in St Neots, where Matt was a Year 11 pupil, held a special assembly in his memory on Monday morning.

Robert Whatmough, the school's principal, told The Hunts Post: "Matthew was a very able student with a keen sense of fun.

"Matthew will be sadly missed by his friends, teachers and other members of the college community."

They have also discussed the possibility of a memorial. As a first step, the college is considering setting up a web page to allow students and teachers to pay tribute.

Flowers and two rugby shirts have been left at the scene of the accident. Messages of support, also left by the roadside, included: 'To Matt, what it all boils down to is that you were my best friend.'

Another read: 'Dear Matt, you were a good mate and you were always there for me. I will miss you dearly and I won't forget you. Stay cool.'

Graham Chalkley, who has lived in Yelling for 20 years, said he heard the accident and went to investigate.

He said: "I thought something had hit my garage. There were bits of van everywhere."

His wife, Brenda, said: "People drive too fast along the road. We get a lot of youngsters walking along the road from Yelling to Toseland but it is a dangerous road."

Tomorrow (Thursday), from 4-6pm at the Holy Cross Church, in Yelling, people who knew Matt are invited to write their messages in a commemoration book.

Matt's funeral will be at Cambridge Crematorium on Thursday, Janaury 18, at 1.30pm.

Anyone with information about Friday's accident should contact Pc Tim Kirkby on 0845 4564564.

# A 23-year-old man from St Neots was arrested in connection with the incident and has been bailed to appear at St Neots police station on Monday, February 19.