The parents of murdered Sunderland teenager Connor Brown have said they are ‘so proud of the man he became’ as he was honoured at the Sunderland and South Tyneside Health Awards.
The 18-year-old, was found in a back lane next to The Borough pub in Sunderland in the early hours of Sunday, February 24, with life-threatening injuries, which Northumbria Police said were consistent with a stabbing.
He was taken to hospital for treatment but later died.
An outpouring of grief followed his death, with the city of Sunderland uniting to pay tribute to the popular young man.
And the impact he made on the community and in particular his job as a receptionist at Happy House Surgery in Durham Road, Sunderland, was recognised at the Sunderland and South Tyneside Health Awards.
The awards, ran by the Sunderland Echo and Shields Gazette, saw Connor honoured with the Special Recognition Award.
His parents, Tanya and Simon Brown, were at the awards evening held at the Roker Hotel, on Thursday night, and accepted the award for their son.
Accepting the award for Connor, mum Tanya said: “Connor was a kind, caring, lovely young man with a heart of gold.
“He would make everyone feel at ease with his big bright smile.
“If you had the pleasure of meeting Connor, you just couldn’t help but love him.
“We as a family are so proud of Connor and the man he became and even now we couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Dad Simon said: “We are very humble people and it is such an honour to be invited to this.
“Our Connor would have loved this, he will be looking down and dancing with his granddad.
“It would mean a lot to him.”
On the impact he made on the community, mum Tanya said: “Even now all the nice things people have said has been amazing.
“It is the community of Sunderland as a whole which has got us through the dark days and weeks.
“It is the love for Connor.
“We will never get over it, but the support from everyone is helping.
“The doctors from the surgery have been so supportive.
“They check on us and our well-being.”
Connor’s parents said their son loved his job at the surgery.
Simon said: “He loved people, he was a proper people person.”
Tanya added: “He did it with heart and he did it with compassion.
“It didn’t matter what your age was, he got them.
“He had time for everyone.”
Leighton Barrass, 20, of Hartside Square, and Ally Gordon, 19, of Polmuir Road, both Sunderland, are both charged with murder on February 24.
At Newcastle Crown Court Barrass has pleaded not guilty to murder.
Gordon was not asked to enter a plea at this stage.
A trial is due to take place on July 2.
A pre-trial hearing will be held on May 17.
Both men have been remanded in custody.