The parents of a motorbike-mad Leeds teenager with a “heart of gold” say they have been overwhelmed with messages of support after he died doing what he loved.
Seventeen-year-old Jake Uttley, from Middleton, suffered fatal injuries when his motorcycle collided with a bus shelter after being involved in a crash with a car in Rothwell, Leeds.
His parents, Andrew and Linda, expect hundreds of people to attend his funeral next week.
Mrs Uttley, a teaching assistant at Woodkirk Academy in Tingley, said: “The response we have had has been absolutely phenomenal. Everybody has said the same thing – that he had a heart of gold and was so caring towards people.”
Jake, a former Rodillian Academy pupil and apprentice engineer, had been with his family for Sunday lunch at a pub in Morley on January 5 before visiting a friend.
He was on his way home on his Suzuki motorbike when he was in collision with a car on Wood Lane.
Jake’s sister Jasmine, 15, then read on Facebook that there had been an accident in Rothwell. Police arrived at the family home on Lepton Hare Chase a short time later.
Jake was taken to Pinderfields Hospital before being transferred to Leeds General Infirmary, but he died two days later.
Mr Uttley, a furniture maker, said: “So many people came to see him in hospital – people that we didn’t even know. It was really humbling.”
Jake, who had passed his test shortly after his 17th birthday, loved bikes from an early age.
“He would sit on top of the washing machine at the age of about two, fascinated by the cycle,” Mr Uttley said.
“We told him he wouldn’t be one of those lads tearing up and down fields, so when he was about 13 we took him to Bumpy motorcycle training park in Birstall, and that was it.”
Jake, who had ambitions of becoming a motorcycle police officer, continued to volunteer at Bumpy, marshalling the track, and teaching youngsters basic bike skills.
Mrs Uttley said: “He said to us not long ago that if we’d let him have a bike as a kid he’d have been motorcross champion by now.”
She added: “I take comfort from the fact that he was where he wanted to be, was doing what he loved and he was happy.”
A 25-year-old man arrested after the crash is on bail.