The family of popular 22-year-old Will Page who was killed in a tragic accident in Ilkeston have paid tribute to him.
Will, who was due to be a dad for the first time, died on Saturday when a metal gate barrier smashed through the windscreen of the van he was driving when he was leaving a garage at Digby Street in Ilkeston. His girlfriend of two years, Rachael Cross, said they had just started saving for a house. She said: “As soon as I found out I was pregnant we grew up. We wanted to buy a house together for when the baby was born.”
He was just so cheeky, making jokes with people and making them smile.Rachael Cross, Will Page’s girlfriend
The couple met through their obsession with cars at the start of 2013, and Rachael moved in with him at his dad Brian’s house in Belper Road, Stanley Common, two months later.
She said: “A month after I met him I knew he was the right one. If I wanted to have a lazy day in bed on a sunny day he would get me up and drag me out -it was constantly get up and go with him. He would always say ‘forget about yesterday and think about tomorrow. He was just so cheeky, making jokes with people and making them smile.”
She described the life-changing moment when she received a phone call from one of Will’s friends telling her he had been in an accident: “I thought they were joking,” she said. “He used to joke and send me messages saying he had chopped his finger off when he had just cut it.
“As I got to the scene there was a police officer with his hat in his hand. That’s when I knew, I could tell by the look in his eye.”
The couple had started a memory box for the baby. She said she would keep adding to it: “I will tell them ‘your dad was amazing and it was his time to a dad’.”
Will is to be buried with a print-out of the baby scan taken earlier this week.
He leaves behind dad Brian, mum Michelle, two brothers – Callum, 25, and Harry, 18 – and a 27-year-old sister, Laura.
His funeral will be held at St Mary’s Church in Ilkeston at 2pm on March 20, followed by burial at Stanley Common cemetery.
Will’s distraught dad, Brian, who worked with his son at Wilmott Brothers in Ilkeston, said: “He was such a happy-go-lucky child and someone that everyone looked to. If someone needed someone to make them feel better, he was the one to do it.”
He said Rachael had called him on Saturday to break the devastating news. He said: “I asked how bad he was and she just said ‘he didn’t make it’. I thought it must have been a mistake - he’s only a young lad, he can’t have died. You never expect it to happen to you.”
He said Will, a Liverpool FC fan, had been doing some welding on his Peugeot 106 GTI and was driving out of the site in a work van when the barrier crashed through the windscreen. Will had said goodbye to a member of staff and drove off, but when they realised the van was still there they knew something was wrong.
A spokesman for Derbyshire, Rutland and Leicester shire Air Ambulance, said: “The incident happened around 10.40am. The gentleman suffered injuries to his chest area, and despite the best efforts of the critical care paramedics and doctors at the scene they were unable to resuscitate him.”
On Sunday around 90 cars drove through the streets of Stanley Common and Ilkeston in memory of Will.
Chinese lanterns were also released. Brian said: “The lantern that Rachael released landed in a tree close to where they first met at the Meteor Centre in Derby.”
Brian said he and Will “were more like mates than father and son”.
He added: “It still doesn’t seem real. I’m still expecting him to walk through the door. I can’t believe how many people have been affected. The response we’ve had has been phenomenal.”
Hundreds of people will be at his funeral. The family are hoping that those attending will be able to park their cars in Ilkeston market place, to mark Will’s passion for cars.