The mum of a young man who was killed in a hit and run has taken her son on his final journey – to a place she will always hold dear to her heart.
Michelle Norton travelled to the Magic Kingdom resort at Disney World in Florida to scatter his ashes in a place where she and her son Lewis Knapp spent many happy holidays.
It was a place that meant so much to Lewis as a child that he wanted to one day take his girlfriend Caitlyn Hardy, 20, to the resort, where he had planned to propose.
The trip was never to be after Lewis, 20, was hit by a car, as he walked from a night out in South Shields, last Easter.
He later died in hospital leaving his family and friends devastated.
Determined to fulfil his wish of taking Caitlyn to the resort, his mam, along with her cousin Lisa Brash, decided to make it happen.
The trio travelled to America earlier this month, taking Lewis’ ashes with them so that they could be scattered in his favourite place.
In an emotional tribute the trio boarded the ferry to the Magic Kingdom in the resort and, as it sailed across the lake, Michelle, Caitlyn and Lisa, said a their final goodbyes to a young man who had enriched their lives and left them with so many happy memories.
Michelle said: “It was very special but so emotional as we scattered his ashes in the lake. Saying our final goodbyes was heartbreaking, but I knew he would have wanted to rest here. He loved the place growing up, and it will always have a special place in my heart - even more so now.
“The hotel we stayed in was amazing, Lewis name was mentioned as we were around the pool and they dedicated a song to him, as part of our final goodbye.
“We have made so many happy memories, and throughout our trip Lewis stayed with us in a small jar Caitlyn carried with her, until we were able to say our last goodbyes.”
Michelle added: “I really can’t thank everyone enough who helped to make this trip possible and to help fulfil Lewis’ wish to take Caitlyn to Disney World, - in particular those who attended a night in Lewis’ memory at the Hedworth Hall.
“No one will ever know how much their support has meant to me.”
Lewis, from Boldon Colliery, died while walking home from South Shields nightclub Roxanne’s at 4am on Good Friday, last year.
He was struck by a car driven Connor Emms, then 21, who had taken drugs and was driving dangerously.
Emms was jailed at Newcastle Crown Court in January for four-and-a-half years.
Hundreds gathered at South Shields Crematorium in April last year to pay their last respects to a “lovely lad” known affectionately to those who knew him as ‘Lewi’.
The service was led by humanist minister Margaret Humphrey who described the popular young man as someone who “loved life and scooped it up by the handful.”