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Tributes paid to ‘big-hearted’ and ‘compassionate’ Bethany

The family of 19-year-old Bethany Branson have paid tribute to her as a ‘beautiful’ and ‘adored little lady’.

Bethany, from Bridgwater, tragically died following a three-car collision in November last year.

Luke Hawkes, of Wadham Close, Bridgwater, has been handed a prison sentence of 10 years for causing her death through dangerous driving. He also faced charges for failing to provide a specimen, for which he pleaded guilty to both charges.

Bethany’s parents, Amy and Ben Branson, have shared a tribute to their daughter. They said:

“Today (Friday 28 January), the criminal aspect of this devastating event has reached its conclusion.

“Heartbreakingly, no sentence length will change Bethany’s future or make our own future okay’ our beautiful and adored little lady will never walk back through our door and enrich our world, and we will continue to live with her loss for the rest of our lives.

“No sentence changes the fact that Bethany will never get to pursue her dreams nor will she get to live out her life as she should have been able to.

“This month, she was due to move into her first home – the start of the next chapter of her life – this has cruelly been taken from her.

“The impact of this has ripped our world apart, she only went out with her friend that night for a drive and to get some food and yet she never returned to us – we are beyond heartbroken and that is a heartbreak that we will carry with us for as long as we remain on this earth.

“Despite all of this unimaginable day-to-day heartbreak, we know that we were blessed. Everyone who had the pleasure of knowing our beautiful and wonderful little lady is blessed beyond belief at being a part of her life and by knowing such a larger-than-life character with the biggest of hearts.

“Bethany was kind, caring, big-hearted, determined, spirited, hilarious, compassionate and quietly would go about the world making it a better place.

“We have had hundreds of messages with people saying things like ‘I will never forget how she took me under her wing on my first rugby training’ or ‘when I joined the school, she was the first one to come and speak to me and made me feel included’ or ‘when I was at my lowest, she would make me laugh and cheer me up’.

“Devastatingly, our darling girl will never get to live her life, pursue her dreams, make a difference to many more people in the world and we are finding the foreverness of this horrific event incomprehensible.

“Our hearts and our heads however are full of so many wonderful memories that will be treasured forever – we were so lucky, so many chapters of love and happiness in those, almost 20 years.

“From our joint love of Christmas and the special days we spent with our family to the holidays, Legoland, Euro Disney, London to the Easter Egg Hunts, the games nights, the dog walks, the meals out, the theatre trips, the rugby matches, the laughter – how blessed are we to have so many amazing memories to draw upon in our saddest moments.

“We all continue to be beyond heartbroken; our lives won’t ever be the same and our world is so desperately sad right now. But, from day one, we have said we won’t let this define us. We will not dishonour her memory in letting this consume us. We will live our lives for her, with her, she is here and will be forever.

“She will no longer be a part of so many chapters of our life but how blessed have we all been to have her in so many of the chapters that have come before this moment.

“Our family saying for so many years was stolen from The Lego Movie, and our motto is ‘everything is awesome when you’re part of a team’. Our little team has got smaller now but we are still a team and we will honour her memory for as long as we are on this earth.

“Bethany Charlotte Branson was a legend, our legend, our first born, our daughter, our sister, our granddaughter, our niece, our cousin, our goddaughter, our friend – we will love her forever and we will not let this define us. She has given us the strength to be strong and live in her name.”