Family pay tribute to 'happy, talented, perfect son' who died in Avonmouth explosion

Luke Wheaton who died in the Avonmouth explosion aged 16.

Luke Wheaton. - Credit: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

The family of a 16-year-old boy who died in an explosion in Avonmouth have paid tribute to their 'happy, talented, perfect son'.

Luke Wheaton and three men died following an incident at a Wessex Water recycling centre in Avonmouth on December 3.

Avon and Somerset police have confirmed those who died were Ray White, aged 57 of Portishead, Brian Vickery aged 63 of Clevedon, Mike James, aged 64 of Bath and Luke, who studied at Weston College. 

In a statement, Luke's family said: "Taken from us way too soon. Words cannot describe what we are going through.

"We are so proud of Luke who is the most gorgeous, loving, happy, talented, perfect son.

"Luke had everything to look forward to in life and has left a massive hole that will never be filled.

"Luke is going to be missed by so many, first and foremost his family who he adored, including Harvey, and his huge network of friends including football, rugby and school.

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"Luke knows how much he is loved and will be dearly missed by everyone. We just wish we could bring him back.

"Always in our hearts and thoughts - life will never be the same again.

"Sweet dreams babe. Stay safe. Love you more than anything."

Luke Wheaton who died in the Avonmouth explosion aged 16.

Luke Wheaton. - Credit: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Luke, of Bradley Stoke, had been recruited and employed as an apprentice by Wessex Water starting in September, with Weston College providing the educational element of the programme.

A Weston College spokesman said: "The principal, governing body, staff and students of Weston College are deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Luke Wheaton.

"We have extended our deepest condolences to Luke’s family at this incredibly sad time and are providing support to students and staff here at the college.

"We also offer our heartfelt condolences to the other families and friends who have lost their loved ones and they are also in our thoughts.

"The college will be holding a minute’s silence during this week in honour of Luke and the other victims of the Avonmouth tragedy."

Investigations are continuing into the cause of the explosion at the Wessex Water recycling centre in Kings Weston Lane.

The explosion happened in a silo which held treated biosolids before they are recycled to land as an organic soil conditioner. 

The cordon around the site was removed on December 8, although enquiries will continue to be carried out at the scene as the investigation progresses. 

A police spokesman said: “Specialist family liaison officers continue to assist their families and the thoughts of everyone at Avon and Somerset police remain with them. 

“All the families would like to thank all those who’ve contacted them for their support but request their privacy be respected at this difficult time.” 

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