Grandmother pays tribute to ‘loving’ boy, 14, who died in accident on funfair ride

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A grandmother has paid tribute to her teenage grandson after he died at a funfair in Kent.

The body of Mackenzie Croxford-Cook, 14, was found early in the morning last Wednesday at a Dover fairground.

He died from injuries after an accident on one of the rides, which was not operating at the time.

Emergency services were called to Pencester Gardens shortly after 7.30am to reports of a body at the fairground.

His grandmother, Debbie Harris, said her “thoughtful, loving” grandson will “always be in our hearts”.

She added: “He was always happy to help others. It was something he took great pride in.

“He is loved dearly by his family and was a very affectionate boy, never afraid to tell his family that he loved them.”

Mackenzie grew up in the coastal town of Deal, Kent, and went to the town’s St Mary’s primary school and later the Goodwin Academy.

Police at Pencester Gardens in Dover last Wednesday after teen died

(PA)

Ms Harris said her grandson enjoyed maths and science, adding: “He was very smart and a hard worker, at least when he wanted to be!

“His friends were among the most important things for him. He loved being outdoors with as many of them as possible.

“He was always entertaining others and joking around, making everyone laugh.

“We have been inundated with people saying how much his loss has impacted them.

“He is loved more than he could possibly imagine, will forever be missed, and will always be in our hearts and minds.

“He is our beautiful, special boy.”

Forrest Family Funfair in Pencester Gardens pictured in September 2020

(John Baker)

More tributes were left at a bus shelter next to Pencester Gardens, where the travelling funfair was being held.

Friends placed balloons and flowers among photographs of Mackenzie and his family.

It was reported that he had snuck into the fair in the early morning before its opening time and had been climbing on a ride called Body Count when he fell.

Locals said they heard a group of young people climbing over the fence into the park and that Mackenzie’s friends were pleading with him to come down before he fell.

Fairground bosses removed the ride and last week closed the fair for a few days out of respect for the boy’s family. It reopened on Saturday.

Travelling funfair, pictured here in 2019, has been running in Kent for more than a century

(John Baker)

A spokesperson for Forrest Amusements, which runs the fair, said it was “deeply saddened” by Mackenzie’s death.

They added: “Our thoughts and sympathy are with the boy’s family at this terrible time. As a family-run funfair, this incident has affected us all.

“We would like to thank the emergency services that attended that day, who did everything they possibly could, and we are very grateful to each and every one of them.”

Police are not treating the death as suspicious and an investigation is being carried out by the Health and Safety Executive.

Additional reporting by SWNS

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