Friends and family of a teenager killed at Labour Weekend are gathering in Taranaki tonight for the memorial of "a cheeky boy with a cheeky grin" taken from them too soon.
Ricky Pettigrew, 16, died when the car he was travelling in with three other teenagers crashed into a tree in Hikurangi Rd near Katikati, in the Bay of Plenty, early on Monday morning. Ricky grew up in Taranaki, and moved to Katikati to live with his father only about eight months ago.
Cousin Kylee Lawrence has organised the memorial to be held at 7.30pm at the East End Skate Park in New Plymouth, where friends from kindergarten, primary school, and high school will gather to release 150 helium balloons.
"I'll give the kids a chance to speak, and they'll all talk and then we'll let off the balloons," Lawrence said.
"From what I hear, I think about every one of his friends is coming.
"I've got sharpie pens so the kids can write messages on the balloons before they let them go.
"We've got multicoloured balloons because Ricky was so bright and colourful."
A group of boys were planning to do a big haka as a tribute to Ricky, Lawrence said.
He was "just amazingly sports-minded", involved in athletics, cross-country, and rugby, Lawrence said.
"He was great at rugby, he was only a little fella, but he always gave it his all."
Ricky was already very much missed by his big family, Lawrence said.
"He was just always, always happy, no matter what was going on for Ricky, he never, never let it get him down – I don't want to get too much into that, but there were some really tough times for little Ricky.
"I think everyone is still pretty much in shock – he was just too young and had so much ahead of him.
"He was a cheeky boy with a cheeky grin – you just couldn't stay angry with him if he did something wrong, he was just one of those kids, a real charmer."
Ricky will lay at his home in Katikati until his funeral in Pyes Pa, near Tauranga, at 1pm tomorrow.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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