Ceredigion lake victim Jai Burkes 'turned life around'

Lenny Burkes said his 18-year-old grandson Jai had just turned his life around

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The grandfather of one of two teenagers who died when a car plunged into a Ceredigion lake says his grandson had turned his life around.

Lenny Burkes said 18-year-old Jai Burkes had just got a job at a car recovery business after completing a course at college.

Mr Burkes and 16-year-old Anwen Busby died when the car left the A44 near Ponterwyd, Ceredigion.

Three others were hurt. A 21-year-old man was arrested and released on bail.

Ashley Williams, Mr Burkes' best friend, is believed to have been driving the car.

One of the other survivors of the crash, 16-year-old Charlotte Tourle, has now been discharged from Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth.

The other survivor, Amy Valentine, also 16, is still in hospital but said to be "comfortable".

Lenny Burkes said his grandson Jai "had his problems" as a child but had grown into a teenager with "values" and "ambitions".

Start Quote

He was totally into cars. If you wanted to find Jai, you found him with his head under a bonnet”

End Quote Lenny Burkes Grandfather of Jai Burkes

"He only recently obtained a job as a paint sprayer at a car recovery place and was looking forward to a career with that," he said.

"His boss was going to buy him a car because his own car was a write off - it wouldn't pass the MoT.

"He was totally into cars. If you wanted to find Jai, you found him with his head under a bonnet.

"He had taken a short course at Aberystwyth college after he left school.

"He got some sort of a pass in mechanics, not fully qualified, but then went on from the job centre to try and find work and he eventually found work with the body shop."

The teenager was best friends with Mr Williams, the man thought to have been driving when the crash happened.

Mr Burkes said: "Jai and Ashley went to school together.

"Although Jai was younger than Ashley they were in different years at school, they were friends even as children.

The car being removed from the lake on Tuesday The car being removed from the lake on Tuesday

"When they were children, he was obviously two years older than Jai so you would see a little three-year-old playing with a five-year-old.

"They were friends all their lives."

The crash happened in the early hours of Tuesday, leaving the vehicle submerged in 4ft (1.2m) of water, in a small lake off the road.

The road was closed for 12 hours on Tuesday while the vehicle was recovered from the lake and investigations continued.

The head teacher of Penglais Comprehensive in Aberystwyth, Haydn Davey, said he was "profoundly shocked" by the deaths of pupil Anwen and former student Mr Burkes.

Tributes were also paid to the teenagers on social networking site Facebook, where a page entitled "R.I.P Anwen Busby and Jai Burkes. You Will Be Missed" was set up. ‎

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