“HE was a character that left a lasting impression on everyone he met” was how a devastated family described a Keighley teenager who died after getting into difficulties in a river.
Ben Marklew, 19, from Glusburn, an apprentice bricklayer with RN Wooler & Co Ltd, passed away in the River Wharfe at Grassington last Thursday.
Mum Sue, dad Paul and sister Ella gave the Telegraph & Argus this heartfelt tribute.
It read: “Our beloved son and brother filled his 19 years of life with family, friends, fun and laughter. Ben was a character that left a lasting impression on everyone he met.
"Ben was loved by all those who knew him, and we are immensely proud of the young man he had become.
"Our lives will be undoubtedly quieter without him and his beautiful blue eyes, rosy, red cheeks and cheeky smile.
"We love you Ben, forever and always. Mum, Dad and Ella.”
Along with the hundreds of tributes left on social media both Bradford City, the team he was a fanatical fan of, and Wharfedale RUFC, the club he played for over many years, sent their condolences to Ben’s family and friends.
A shirt with ‘Marklew 19’ was present in a corner of Valley Parade throughout the club’s 2-0 friendly win over Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
Coincidentally, City scored their opener on the 19th minute in a game Ben would have undoubtedly been at showing his support.
While Wharfedale RUFC wrote this on their website: “Ben was a long serving member of the rugby club. Everyone at the club, alongside his family had watched him grow from a wild, cheeky lad into an ever-maturing lovely young man (still with a cheeky smile).
"Over the years, under the tutelage of his dad who coached him throughout his playing days at Wharfedale, Ben developed into a fine prop forward also mobile enough to play in the back row too. Having finished his junior playing days Ben was embarking on his senior rugby career.
"All his family were great supporters of Ben and were usually there on a Sunday morning to cheer him and his team on including his nan Pat. They were all really proud of him. He leaves a large hole in the lives of a lot of people.”
Meanwhile, more tributes came flooding in via the T&A’s book of condolence.
Louise Armstrong said: “Ben, you were a friend to my two sons Joseph and Jacob. You came to my house on many occasions and were so polite, respectful and had a cheeky smile.
"It was a pleasure to have known you, you have left many a broken heart, and gone way too soon, RIP Ben.”
Jonathan Birdsall, of the Melbourne Bantams, said: “RIP mate. Thoughts to your friends and family.
Becca Sharp added: “A beautiful, and amazing young man, loved by so many people, it’s devastating that life takes the best ones. Fly high and rest peacefully beautiful, you will be dearly missed.”
Cara Harrison said: “Rest in peace Ben. You were always a laugh and I never saw you without a smile on your face. Life and soul of the party, keep partying on up there. Such a lovely boy, you will be massively missed.”
Joanna Horton added: “Tragic. Ben will be sadly missed. He was an energetic child full of life and grew into a fine young man. RIP Ben. Condolences to all his family, from Joanna and Bill Horton.”