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North Wales: Family and friends pay tribute to teens after crash

Jevon Hirst, Harvey Owen, Wilf Fitchett and Hugo Morris
Jevon Hirst, Harvey Owen, Wilf Fitchett and Hugo Morris

The mother of one of four teenage boys found in a crashed car says she feels like she's in a nightmare she wishes she could wake up from.

Wilf Fitchett, Jevon Hirst, Harvey Owen and Hugo Morris, from Shrewsbury, were found in an overturned, partially submerged car in Gwynedd, north Wales.

The boys - one aged 16, two aged 17 and one 18 - had not been seen since Sunday morning, prompting a major search.

Harvey's mum, Crystal, said: "Nothing will make this nightmare go away."

"I just wanted to say I do appreciate people's kindness but no amount of messages is going to help me overcome this," she posted on Facebook.

Dough and Oil, the restaurant where Harvey worked, said he was "easy-going, warm, funny, gentle, bright, hardworking and humble".

Maddi Corfield, the girlfriend of Wilf, said: "I'm going to miss you forever."

"The sweetest and most loving boy I've ever known. I hope you know how much I love you, gorgeous," she wrote in a tribute online.

"Thank you for all the time you've spent with me... thank you for loving me endlessly. I promise I'll do the same for you, my sweet, sweet angel.

"I can't imagine my world without you. I'm missing you so much already, but I am going to enjoy life the way you would've wanted, the way that you made me feel."

Her mother, Lisa Corfield, 37, said on Facebook: "I am absolutely heartbroken for Maddi and all of the families involved. Wilf was such a lovely, kind lad and treated Maddi in a way only a mother could hope her daughter be treated."

Harvey Owen in the middle of a group of people holding a crab by the pincers and smiling
Harvey's mum Crystal says she feels like she is in a nightmare

Wilf Fitchett's surname has been changed in our coverage as it was previously provided as Henderson by North Wales Police.

James Love, 17, and Alfie Lawley, 16 - both friends of the boys - lit candles for their friends at Shrewsbury Abbey on Wednesday morning.

James said they were all "lovely caring lads, [who] wouldn't say anything horrible to anyone, just amazing people".

"It's just a horrible feeling... knowing that some lads who were so close to you, that we saw every single day, I'll never see again, I'll never hear their voices again," he added.

Alfie added: "It doesn't feel real to think that they're not going to be here any more. I just have no words."

James Love and Alfie Lawley
Friends of the boys, James Love and Alfie Lawley, paid tribute to the group

North Wales Police confirmed the bodies were found in the car, which appeared to have come off the road on the A4085 in Garreg, near Tremadog, Gwynedd.

The silver Ford Fiesta was found upside down, partially submerged in water.

The road remained closed on Wednesday as searches in the area, including by the underwater search team, continued.

Supt Owain Llewellyn said on Wednesday evening a search of a ditch for missing property had finished and the road had reopened.

He said earlier the crash appeared to have been "a tragic accident".

Supt Llewellyn said it was thought they travelled to Harlech on Saturday with plans to camp in Eryri - also called Snowdonia - on Sunday.

Garreg is about 75 miles (120km) from Shrewsbury.

Map of north west Wales Showing the towns of Porthmadog, where the car was found near Garreg and Eryri National Park (Snowdonia)
Map of north west Wales Showing the towns of Porthmadog, where the car was found near Garreg and Eryri National Park (Snowdonia)

The boys were last seen in a silver Ford Fiesta, which was found during a police search on Tuesday after a tip-off from a member of the public.

The force said the teens' families had been informed, adding that the search had now finished, but inquiries were ongoing to formally identify those in the vehicle, and understand what led to the deaths.

"This has been an extensive search involving a number of different agencies and volunteers and this is sadly not the outcome that any of us would have wanted."

In the village of Garreg locals gathered on Wednesday for a prayer and a minute's silence, and a single candle was placed at the site of the crash.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sent his condolences, adding: "I know the thoughts of the whole House will be with the family and friends of the four teenagers."

Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford said: "My thoughts are with their family and friends during this incredibly difficult time as they deal with the unimaginable."

How are people feeling in Shrewsbury?

All four teenagers were students at Shrewsbury College and were doing their A-levels.

In a statement, Shrewsbury Colleges Group called it "truly heartbreaking" and "tragic" and said "our thoughts go out to those affected".

The group said it would be working directly with affected students and staff and had "put in place a range of support measures for all our community".

A single candle was lit overnight on the wall of a bridge where the crash happened
A single candle was lit overnight on the wall of a bridge where the crash happened

Shrewsbury's Christmas lights switch, on which was due to take place on Wednesday evening, has been cancelled.

Meole Brace School in Shrewsbury, which the four teenagers previously attended, said in a statement on Tuesday that all four boys were well-thought of and well-known by the school community.

Rev Charlotte Gompertz, vicar of Shelton and Oxon in Shrewsbury, described the news as "utterly devastating".

"It's impacting everyone, this is a tight-knit community where many of the young people have been at school together since they were four years old," she told Radio 4's Today programme.

"I do know some of the families, not really close, but it is one of those places where everybody knows everybody and certainly some of the families are quite high profile folks within the community.

"It is going to take a long time for us to get our heads even vaguely around this tragedy."

Rev Charlotte Gompertz
Rev Charlotte Gompertz, vicar of Shelton and Oxon in Shrewsbury, says the news is "utterly devastating"

Oxon Church in Shrewsbury opened its doors for prayer on Tuesday evening, and Trinity Churches Shrewsbury said there would be some time and space to pray in the Trinity Centre on Wednesday.

St Chad's Church, also in the town, said the four teenagers were "in our prayers and thoughts".

"Our church is open tomorrow [Wednesday] for private prayer, peace and reflection," it said on X, formerly Twitter.

The mayor of Shrewsbury, Becky Wall, said on X she was "deeply saddened" by the news.

Shrewsbury and Atcham MP, Daniel Kawczynski, described the news as "truly heartbreaking".

"Yesterday evening I received messages of condolences from friends across the political spectrum in the House of Commons," he said.

"The whole country were desperately hoping the boys would be found safe and well and this news is devastating."

League One football club Shrewsbury Town FC said: "The thoughts and condolences of the club are with everyone affected by this devastating news out of north Wales."

Weather conditions in the area on Monday were cloudy, with showers and strong northerly winds causing significant chill, particularly on higher and more exposed routes, according to the Met Office.

The rescue efforts involved air ambulances, mountain rescue, and coastguards.

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