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Family and friends pay touching tribute to tragic Lewis Knapp on the first anniversary of his death

“He is never going to be forgotten.”

The girlfriend of tragic Lewis Knapp paid an emotional tribute to the hit-and-run victim on the anniversary of his death.

Releasing the balloons...

Releasing the balloons...

Lewis, from Boldon Colliery, was making his way home from a nightclub on Good Friday last year with friends when he was struck by a Vauxhall Vectra car driven by Connor Emms. He was just 20.

Emms, 21, was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Newcastle Crown Court in January after admitting causing death by dangerous driving, drug driving, failing to stop after an accident, having no insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

Family and friends gathered to pay tribute to Lewis at a memorial garden set up in his honour, releasing balloons and raising a toast to his memory.

"It is good to see how many people remember him," said girlfriend Caitlyn Hardy.

...there they go

...there they go

"We all come down here all the time - it is where all his friends are, his family, everybody is always walking past.”

Lewis’ loved ones have been a huge support to Caitlyn in coping with her grief over the past year.

"He has got so many friends and family and they have all been absolutely amazing," she said.

"It helps having them around all the time - it helps you to get through it.

Caitlyn Hardy and Michelle Norton

Caitlyn Hardy and Michelle Norton

"Everyone remembers him every day - everyone knows who he was.

"He will not be forgotten."

Caitlyn and Lewis’ mum Michelle Norton will make one of his dreams come true this summer, when they travel to Florida.

"Some of his ashes are buried here so his friends can come and pay their respects," said Michelle.

Lewis' friends gather

Lewis' friends gather

"The rest we are going to take to Florida and bury them in the Magic Kingdom.

"We have been every year since he was five and the plan was to take Caitlyn this summer for her first visit - that was the plan, so I have stepped into his shoes.

"It is good that we have got something to look forward to.

"And we are going to do this every year. It is hard but it helps to see how many people are here, how many people respected him and how much he was loved.

"It is really nice that so many people have come down."

The family has been working with charity RoadPeace North East and is holding a fund-raising event at Hedworth Hall next Saturday night, which anyone is welcome to attend.

Writing a message

Writing a message

Lewis Knapp

Lewis Knapp