THE father of a young man killed in a road accident has penned a heartbreaking tribute to his son.
Dominic Loftus, 22, was a passenger in a BMW which left the road and collided with a hedgerow and a dry stone wall last week.
The accident happened during the early hours of Thursday October 3 on the B5288 between Greystoke and Motherby, near Penrith.
Dominic, from Castle Sowerby a village near Penrith, died at the scene.
Now in a tribute released to the media, Dominic’s father Ian Loftus has looked back over his son's life.
Mr Loftus, is landlord of The Sportsman's Inn at Troutbeck between Penrith and Keswick, and The Oddfellows Arms at Caldbeck.
He wrote: “They say that just before you die your life flashes before your eyes. What they don't say is that when someone very, very close to you dies; their life flashes before your eyes.
“Dominic's 22 years have been on 'shuffle' in my head since 6.30am on October 4 after the police arrived at Vicargate to tell us the tragic news. Susan knew straight away....two policemen at the door at 6.30 in the morning...... But they were very gentle and thoughtful with us.
“I only know what 'shuffle' is because Dominic has tried to persuade me to get an iPhone for the last five or six years. I finally gave in, in July 2013. His iPhone never left his pocket, ever."
He continued: “Now added to Dominic's 'playlist' is the snapshot of our beautiful 22-year-son, dead, on a table in Carlisle Hospital.
"Then, another flash. I see the time he came home with Lucy last year, with a big grin on his face. 'She's a beast', he said. In reality she was a fluffy black and white border collie he'd been given by his pal Ollie. She never left his side, ever."
“I see a big beaming beautiful white smile, intersperse between the flashes of Dominic's life. 'You're an idiot Ian,' he would say; smiling. He only called me Dad in private; he thought it was more professional.
"The same smile was there earlier this year when we went to collect his Mazda 6 with his friend Tom. The last time I saw Dominic was the 3rd of October, when we dropped off some kind of 'widgit' at the garage in Langwathby.
"It seems that it would make the engine on his car do something better, I never understood what, but he had the same big beautiful smile when he dropped me off at home.
“See ya later Dadl.” I didn't, until the table at Carlisle Hospital, but his smile will never leave my side.
“The next flash was when his mum and I dropped him at Manchester Airport (for him) to fly to Lanzarote to work.
"He was born in Penrith Hospital and lived with us here at Vicargate Castle, Sowerby, up to that point in 2007, with his sister Chloe and brother Reuben.
“He had a great time, learning about the pub and restaurant business, but typical Dominic, he spoke or texted his mum or dad every day. What a big mobile bill that was when he got back! He loved his mobile, his iPhone, and he used it for everything - music, his business, text, email. He even made phone calls on it sometimes.
“Dominic went to Fellview School at Caldbeck and then onto Ullswater School in 2002. I have another flash of him breaking a rib on the 2005 Ullswater South African rugby tour, but learning later he broke it falling over in the shower, typical.
"And again seeing his big beautiful smile when he gave us the African Family Symbol painting when he got back. The painting has never left the wall.
“Stepping back to today, for those of you who knew Dominic, you will have known him as kind and generous, always ready to help out, and the hardest worker that I know. He never said no if someone needed help, often putting his own plans on hold, and, without a doubt, he loved his family and friends very much, and they loved him too.
“Another flash of memory, we spent hours one day, looking through a cookery book trying to find recipes for a couple of dishes he could make as he was entered in the Ready Steady Cook challenge between QEGS (Queen Elizabeth Grammar School) and Ullswater Schools.
"He came second. He really could cook, and well, and he did it all throughout this year helping us out, we don't know how we would have managed without him, which is the next memory, for tomorrow. What are we going to do now without our big beautiful handsome boy?'
“He didn't really enjoy cooking as much as getting his hands and knees dirty, climbing through a loft to run some electrical wiring, working out a problem on a fuse board, running some new lights into a farmer’s barn or putting his mind to just about anything practical.
"I remember when he was four, I looked out of the window and watched him drive a nail through a piece wood without missing a stroke. On the other hand, and another memory flash, he skied more on his backside than on his skis.
“There aren’t enough column inches to describe Dominic and how much we are so proud of him and his zest for life, he couldn't sit still and even got bored on Christmas Day.
“The final memory flash I'm going to share is one day when he was 18 and we drove into Penrith. It seemed every other car flashed, beeped or waved at us, and every person we passed on the street said “hi”, smiled or spoke with him.
"I never knew until then how popular he was and how many people knew him, and liked him. Even on the morning of the October 4; many of his friends had gathered at The Sportsman's by 11am. Thank you all for that. Thanks also to the police, the ambulance, and the bystanders who sat with Dominic at the scene.
“He liked a pint with his pals, young and old. The younger ones have just had their first pool game as a team this last week, they lost of course but they still enjoyed each other's company. I guess the main topic of conversation would have been 'The Glendale'. Go onto Dominic's Facebook and all will be revealed if you don't already know.
“I feel very disloyal to him now by cutting this tribute here, as I could talk about Dominic for ever and if you bump into me or his mother on the street, we will. But many of you will have your own 'shuffle' memories of 'Dom' please feel free to share with us and his friends, and to celebrate his short but full life.”
Police are investigating the circumstances of the collision and appeal for any witnesses to contact Cumbria Police on 101 and ask for PC Lisa Teasdale at the Northern Roads Policing Unit.