TRIBUTES have been paid to 19-year-old Matthew Bennett from Llanidloes, who died after a four vehicle crash near Caersws last Saturday.
Matthew was known as a “gentle giant” by friends and family for his warm personality.
He worked at Colomer Munmany Europe tannery in Carno, was an active member of the Aberystwyth Army Reserves and had attended Llanidloes High School.
He was the much loved son of Paul Bennett and Christine Grazier and leaves behind his girlfriend, Becky Wilson.
Paul said: “It has hit me hard.
“He was well known in the community and everybody loved him. He was our gentle giant, he was six foot five and there wasn’t a single nasty bone in his body.
“I miss him so much, it’s hard. We don’t know about funeral arrangements, I’m calling it Matthew’s day, not a funeral.
“Matthew lived with me and the hardest part is walking around the house remembering; and him not being there.”
Paul also sent his thanks to those who have been supportive in this difficult time.
He said: “I want to thank my cousin, Mark Ingram. He has been a rock for me.
“I picked him up from the airport on Saturday and he was there for me when we went to the hospital.
“I want to thank Dyfed-Powys Police, the family liaison officer Karen Jones, the Royal Stoke University Hospital were brilliant and the Air Ambulance.
“The Army, the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Welsh Guard as well, they’ve been so good.
“I’d like to send special thanks to Captain Ian Moore from Cardiff, he has been very sympathetic.”
Thanks were also passed to the fire service and Sergeant Ashley Brice who arrived at the scene while off duty and provided first aid.
Staff and pupils of Llanidloes High School were shocked and saddened to learn of the loss of a former pupil.
Mrs Sarah Board, one of Matthew’s former tutors, said that Matthew was a leader in the class and was always keen to assist in any way if he could.
Matthew’s former PE teacher, Mr Jordan Davies, remembered Matthew as a keen sportsman with a great love for rugby.
He was a keen member of the Llanidloes Rugby Club and was a regular in the junior teams.
Head of Year 11, Mr Matthew Young, added: “Matthew was a gentle giant who showed great respect for all students and staff, and was always a keen and willing volunteer for any project.”
The headteacher, staff and governors send their sincere condolences to Mathew’s family and friends.
At the age of 11 Matthew joined the Llanidloes Army Cadets, and progressed at the age of 17 to join the Royal Welsh Guards at Catterick.
Major Paul Jones, former detachment commander at Llanidloes Army Cadets, said: “Cadet Corporal Bennett’s turn out, bearing and enthusiasm were second to none.
“So much so that in 2012 he was selected to represent Gwent and Powys ACF at the Remembrance parade at the Menin Gate, Ypres.
“As a person he was one of those few people who got on with everyone, both cadets and adult staff.
“Matthew will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”
Emergency services were called to the scene on the A470 at approximately 7.35am on Saturday.
Matthew was flown by Air Ambulance to the Royal Stoke University Hospital where he passed away at 7.40pm that day.
The collision involved a blue Ford Fiesta driven by Matthew, a grey VW transporter van being driven by a 53-year-old man from Hereford, a silver Renault traffic van driven by a 46-year-old man from Worcester and a silver VW golf being driven by a 27-year-old man from Newtown.
The road remained closed for five hours after the incident to allow police forensic collision investigators the opportunity to survey the scene.
Anyone who may have information about the inciden are requested to contact Dyfed-Powys police on 101.