MORE than 300 people attended popular Hayden Middleton’s funeral services in Stanley and Bramcote last month.
This week mum Mandy Middleton paid tribute to a son, who she said ‘lit up’ the lives of everyone he met.
“If you ever felt down he would find some way of making you smile over the silliest, stupidest things,” she said.
“He lit up people’s lives – it was as if a light was turned on when he came in a room.”
Hayden, 19, was a big fan of the outdoors and loved shooting, fishing and walking.
He cared deeply for animals and would bring home sick and injured creatures to try to save them. He also loved the family’s six horses.
Riding teacher Mandy, who picked a fitting horse-drawn carriage for the 19-year-old’s hearse, said: “He couldn’t ride – every time he tried he would fall off, but he loved looking after them.”
Hayden attended Alderman White school in Bramcote, where he was crowned prom king at 16, and later Castle College in Beeston and Stapleford.
He had many friends who Mandy said have been ‘totally destroyed’ by his death. Some carried his coffin and many, along with girlfriend Leigh Woodroffe, 20, came to see his body at the Middletons’ Glebe Crescent home to pay personal respects before the funeral.
“It was quite emotional for them but they were very grateful for that,” said Mandy.
He went on to work as a scaffolder and bricklayer and had been on his way to Acorn Windows in Nottingham, where he had been working as a fitter, when he died.
Hayden had lived in Stanley for just 18 months and had spent time working in the kitchen of the nearby White Hart pub, where he made many friends.
Mandy said: “When he came here he definitely fitted in very well – he walked into the village and if somebody didn’t know him, they soon would.
“They all miss him.”
Family came from as far away as Dorset and Wales to be at the funeral on December 20.
Mandy said Hayden will be particularly missed by sister Kirsty Middleton, 22, her partner Aidan Bell and their son Brydan, 2.
Mandy added: “We’ve not been coping that well – we have good days and bad days.”
“We want to thank the people of the village and all Hayden’s friends for the massive support they have given us and the vicar Rev Simon White for the absolutely stunning job of the funeral.”
Donations can still be made to the British Heart Foundation, RSPCA and Children in Need in memory of Hayden.