Tributes to brave David

THE family and friends of a Cleckheaton teenager have paid tribute to a kind and loving boy.

David William Ritchie, of Victoria Avenue, died in hospital on May 23.

He had suffered for most of his life from a weakened immune system but coped bravely with his illness.

He was born in Irvine in Ayrshire, Scotland, and spent his early years in Stevenston.

The family moved to Cleckheaton when he was four, and he attended Heaton Avenue First School, West End Middle and Whitcliffe Mount Business and Enterprise College.

He had chicken pox when he was a child, and suffered from infections which meant he often had to take time off school.

His mum Liz said: "He had a card to say he was poorly and could be excused. I spent a lot of time caring for him at home, which makes it all the harder now he's gone.

"He knew he would probably die young but he wanted to prove the doctors wrong. He hated it if anyone knew he was different. He played out like other boys and nothing stopped him having fun."

David loved music and cooking, and keeping in touch with friends over the internet.

Dewsbury Crematorium was packed at his funeral on Tuesday.

Liz said: "He was brilliant and everybody loved him. He'd just reached an age when he was really starting to blossom."

Last year David had been looking forward to attending the Whitcliffe Mount prom in Huddersfield, but had to leave early because he was poorly.

He hoped to become a chef and had begun work experience cooking at Ashcroft Nursing Home, where Liz works as a carer.

David had a sister, Marianne, two elder brothers, Andrew and Joseph, and twin brother Darren.

Darren said: "It seems like even now when I go home David will be upstairs in his attic singing extremely badly or in the kitchen cooking.

"He'll be missed by all of us. He'd always help me out of a tight spot. It didn't take much for him to put a smile on anyone's face and even his bad jokes were funny."

His neighbour Tracy Luty and her daughter Hanna, 10, were like a second family to him.

Hanna said: "He was a kind and loving boy and he was like a brother to me."