TEENAGER Joey Prew will leave a lasting legacy after his death when a memorial fund is set up in his name.
It comes as his devastated family yesterday paid an emotional tribute to the 17-year-old at his funeral.
Friends and relatives of the talented footballer packed Gosport’s Holy Trinity Church to say their final farewells.
Joey died in hospital after falling from a bridge in Nimrod Drive in Rowner, Gosport, on August 26.
His family believe his death was a tragic accident.
Before the funeral, Joey’s family asked well-wishers to send donations to Motiv8, a charity for young people.
And the organisation now hopes to set up a Joey Prew memorial fund to help other youngsters pay for youth projects in the area.
Joey’s dad Alan Prew said at the funeral service: ‘My heart is torn in two.
‘One half is angry and sad but the other part knows you’re in a good place.
‘I will miss you and your spirit until the day I die but I know I will be with you again.’
He added: ‘I need to tell you that every single soul around this church sends their heart out to you.’
Joey’s coffin was brought into the church to the sound of Caravan of Love by The Housemartins.
The people who gathered to say goodbye formed an intimate circle around him inside the church to hear about Joey’s passion for football and his love of music.
They then said prayers for Joey before his family spoke of their happy memories together.
Mum Donna Prew added: ‘You were always so happy and made us all laugh.
‘What happened to Joey reminds us that life is so precious and we must treasure it.
‘As a mum it is the deepest sadness ever.’
Joey’s brother Jimmy and sister Georgie also read out messages for him.
Joey enjoyed a holiday in Spain with his family two months before his death.
Leading the service for Joey at the church, in Trinity Green, the Rev Andy Davis said: ‘His death is a terrible, heart-breaking tragedy.
‘Donna and Alan loved him to bits.
‘He was kind and generous to his friends.
‘Joey was fizzing, energetic and the life and soul of the party.
‘He was always around to lift people’s spirits.
‘Joey made the world brighter, livelier and a much more colourful place and there is no better tribute to someone than that.’
At the end of the service, Joey was carried from the church to the sound of Fisherman’s Blues by The Waterboys.
His coffin was sprinkled with holy water and his family lit four candles on the altar.
Kirsty Cremer, the Gosport and Fareham Services Manager for Motiv8, said the organisation hoped to use any money it receives in donations to set up the memorial fund.
Young people could then bid for a slice of the cash if they come up with an idea on how to spend it in the area.
She said: ‘Joey was such a character.
‘He was with us at Motiv8 for three years and he was so full of life.
‘We’re also supporting his friends at the moment.
‘They’re all grieving in different ways.
‘With the donations we would like to set up a memorial fund and young people can bid for something around the area.’
Staff from Gosport’s Brune Park School, where Joey was a former pupil, and nearby St Vincent College attended Joey’s funeral to pay their respects.
Within days of his death, more than 100 bunches of flowers were left under the bridge where he fell.
It is thought he had been taking a shortcut home at the time.
Hundreds of Joey’s friends also joined a Facebook group where they left tributes and shared memories.
Football tournament will be held in Joey’s name
JOEY Prew was about to start an apprenticeship at Gosport Football Club when he died.
The keen footballer and Chelsea fan had been playing the sport for years.
So in a fitting tribute, his friends held a football tournament in his honour.
Now they want to make it a yearly fixture and have teams compete for a trophy.
Joey, 17, had once played for Brune Park School in the English schools national finals.
He had also played for the Spartan Colts.
Last weekend, hundreds of his friends gathered at the playing fields in Grove Road, Gosport, for a day of football in his memory.
Everybody paid a small fee to take part and the money was given to Joey’s family.
Speaking at his funeral yesterday, Rev Andy Davis said: ‘Joey was particularly good at lifting spirits on the football pitch where he never gave up.
‘Joey’s enthusiasm for the game was infectious.
‘From the age of three, he was following his dad up and down the pitch.
‘He was just about to start an apprenticeship at Gosport Football Club and he would have loved it.’
Motiv8 in Gosport provided a trophy for the event which will be engraved with the winning team’s name.
The trophy will then be returned to Joey’s mum and dad, Donna and Alan, to look after.
The tournament at the weekend saw around 250 people turn up.
It was organised by one of Joey’s friends Jake Browning, 19, from Gosport.
Jake and the other players raised almost £1,000 from the event.
Any money raised from future tournaments will go to charity.
A blue Chelsea shirt was draped over Joey’s coffin as it left his funeral yesterday.