Avonmouth explosion victim, 16, pictured as dad pays tribute to ‘best mate’

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A teenage boy has been identified as one of the victims of a devastating explosion at a Bristol water treatment centre.

Luke Wheaton, 16, was killed in the blast at the Wessex Water site in Avonmouth on Thursday morning.

The explosion is believed to have taken place in one of the centre's chemical tanks.

Grieving dad Matt Wheaton has now paid tribute to his son, who was working at Wessex Water as an apprentice.

"You gave me and mum 16 great years it should have been many many more," he said.

"A big hole has been put into our hearts and will never ever be filled, you were and will always be the big part in our hearts that now is not there.

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"You gave so much to any event laughter/fun by your words, jokes, comments.

"We will miss you and will always love you for the rest of our lives and I hope will carry on beyond.

"You were my son, my best mate, my drinking partner, my minder and much much more Mums gorgeous babe, everything wished for in a son."

Mr Wheaton added: "We are so proud of you in what you have achieved in your short life," he said.

"You were so proud to get an apprenticeship and wear your uniform and it should of lasted for more than 3 months.

"God bless Luke our great son we wish you were still with us in life and not soul."

Others who knew Luke have also paid tribute to the teen, with North Bristol Rugby Football Club tweeting: "Such terribly sad news that one of our Colts, Luke Wheaton was tragically lost in the accident in Avonmouth yesterday morning.

"It's absolutely heartbreaking. All of our love & thoughts to Luke's family, team mates, coaches and everyone else that knew him."

Bradley Stoke Community School wrote on Facebook: "We were shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic passing of our former student Luke Wheaton yesterday in the Avonmouth tragedy.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."

Michael James, 64, Brian Vickery, 63, and Raymond White, 57, also died in the explosion last week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson responded to the tragedy: "Deeply saddened to learn that four people have lost their lives in the water works explosion in Avonmouth.

"Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. Thank you to the emergency services who attended the scene."

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