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Lee was a devoted dad to little Harrison and he never let a day go by without saying 'I love you' Grieving mum opens her heart following river tragedy.

Byline: Emma Oliver

THE mum of Stockton dad Lee Brown has paid a heartfelt tribute to her "big, gentle" son who "filled a room with his presence and humour".

The 24-year-old went missing last month following a party on the Teesside Princess on Stockton riverbank.

He got off the boat in Stockton and was last seen near the River Tees Watersports Centre.

Sadly, Lee's body was recovered two weeks later from the River Tees. An inquest into his death was opened and adjourned this week.

Now his devastated mum Violet has told how Lee was a joker, especially quick at one-liners, and always smiling.

She said: "He was a devoted dad to his four-year-old son Harrison and never let a day go by without telling me or Harrison that he loved us and always wished me goodnight."

When Lee was 10, he started taking part in motorcycle stunts. He and his dad Craig formed a motorcycle stunt team and they travelled all over the country putting on shows. Lee's stage name was Jumping Jak and he had a Yamaha Blaster Quad bike.

Violet, from Stockton, said: "Lee performed at Ridewell which was run by the police at Preston Park and Aykley Heads in Durham, as well as Skegness and other places. Unfortunately, it only lasted a few years as his dad was diagnosed with cancer and given weeks to live."

Violet said Lee and his older brother Brett, 31, were taught to ride at an early age by their father and the family also ran the Teesside Dirtbike shop in Oxbridge Lane, Stockton.

Lee also enjoyed gardening, music, particularly dance and rap, and cooking as well as motorsport. He was a fan of River Cottage and Hugh Fearnley-Whittenstall.

Violet said: "Lee attended junior catering college at Middlesbrough College and enjoyed Indian, Chinese and Thai cooking along with traditional dishes. Lee would have liked to be a chef, and liked to experiment and devise his own recipes."

The dad-of-one was a former pupil at Ian Ramsey C of E School in Stockton and had wanted to join the Royal Engineers.

He attended Army cadets when he was a teenager but a serious motorcycle accident when he was 17 left him with a shattered left leg and arm, leaving him unable to join the Army.

Violet said: "Lee was a very sociable young man with many friends from all walks of life, his Facebook memory page shows this. Lee was a much-loved brother, son, cousin and nephew.

"He was a very caring individual who filled a room with his presence and humour.

"We area very close family. Unfortunately Brett is finding it dif-ficult to come to terms with what has happened, as is every member of his family and our friends. It feels like we are in a dream and Lee will walk in any time."

Violet said the family would like to thank everyone who assisted in the search for Lee and those who held him and his loved ones in their thoughts and prayers.

The family also wants to thank Cleveland Police and the search and rescue teams for the support, diligence and professionalism shown throughout the search, especially Pete Young and Glen Westmoreland.

Violet added: "Lee would have been overwhelmed by the amount of support given and humbled by the kindness and actions shown by friends and strangers alike.

"There have been many Face-book tributes about how much Lee meant to everyone and how much they will miss him. The comments have touched the hearts of many but especially his family, and we thank you for that."

Lee's funeral will take place on Tuesday at Stockton Parish Church at 2pm.

"He was a very caring individual who filled a room with his presence and humour"


Another of the many tributes to Lee |on Stockton's Infinity Bridge, right

- mum Violet, above

Lee Brown with son |Harrison, four, above, and pictured at his cousin's 21st birthday party, left, just a couple of weeks before he went missing

IAN COOPER Floral tributes have been left on the Infinity Bridge in Stockton, above, following the |heartbreaking discovery of Lee's body in the River Tees

| Some of the many floral tributes on Stockton's Infinity Bridge, |above and top, as family and friends try to come to terms with the death of Lee Brown, right. The dad-of-one, 24, disappeared following a night out and his body was found two weeks later

Police divers searching the Tees in the area of the Infinity Bridge earlier this month IAN COOPER
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 16, 2015
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