Published: 12:26, 30 July 2014 |
Updated: 15:33, 30 July 2014
The fiancee of a motorcyclist killed in a crash on the A249 on Sheppey has paid an emotional tribute to him - and revealed she has named their baby boy after him.
Chris Reeve, 23, died when his Yamaha 125cc bike collided with a white Mercedes van in Brielle Way.
Sophie Reeve, who took Chris's surname at his request, has spoken publicly for the first time to say she was left devastated and numb when her "loving and funny" partner went out for a bike ride and never came home.
She was 28 weeks pregnant when he died and has now given birth to a baby boy she has named after his father.
The 21-year-old, who had already been through the tragedy of losing a child with her boyfriend, has spoken about how baby Chris has given her the strength to keep going – and said she does not blame the other driver for what happened.
Chris was flown to King's College Hospital, in London, after the crash in April. Sophie and his family were rushed to be by his side, but he passed away there.
"It was the worst day of my life," she said. "When we got to hospital, he was having a brain scan and the surgeon said nothing would change the inevitable so we knew he was going to die.
"They let us see him – I touched his hand and after 20 seconds he died.
"On the day of the accident he had just gone out for a half-hour bike ride because he was new to bikes, and he didn't come home.
"When Chris passed away, I was an absolute mess and was just really numb to everything."
The couple, who lived together in Sheerness, had been together for three years after first noticing each other at Tantra nightclub in the town.
Sophie said Chris, who was a prison officer at HMP Elmley in Eastchurch, walked past her the following day and then tracked her down on Facebook.
The former Minster College pupil said Chris was very stubborn, crazy about going to the gym and that Arnold Schwarzenegger was his idol.
She said he put on a front for friends, but was "really loving and funny" and described him as the "sweetest person ever".
The couple had not been without tragedy having lost a baby last year. Charlie was stillborn at 26 weeks. Both his and his father's ashes are buried at the Garden of England Crematorium in Bobbing.
"We had never ever been as close as after we lost Charlie," said Sophie. "It brought us closer together. Chris was a massive support to me.
"I found out I was pregnant again in September – three months after we had lost Charlie – and I felt scared but excited.
"Chris was really nervous. Until we got past the point Charlie had died he couldn't settle."
They had already talked about naming their son after his dad and Christopher Charlie Reeve was born weighing 8lb 3oz on Tuesday, June 17.
He was born by cesarean section in St Thomas's Hospital in London as they knew he had transposition of the great arteries, which means his two main arteries were round the wrong way.
At two weeks old, he had life-saving open heart surgery to correct it and is now back home and doing well. Sophie said seeing her tiny son hooked up in hospital was horrible and brought back a lot of memories.
She said it is a bittersweet feeling as her baby is the spitting image of his dad.
"I was scared at the thought of being on my own because it was different to how it was supposed to be," she said.
"But I'm glad I have a piece of Chris because if I hadn't been pregnant I wouldn't have had anything.
"Baby Chris means everything to me. I couldn't imagine being without him, especially after everything that has happened.
"He's the reason I've coped the way I have. Without him it would be a totally different story. Having him has kept me going and it makes me feel that much closer to Charlie as well.
"If I have a breakdown who does he have?"
The crash happened in Brielle Way at about 6.50pm on Wednesday, April 9.
Chris had been travelling towards Queenborough along the section running alongside Cromwell Road at West Minster.
His Yamaha 125cc bike collided with a white Mercedes van heading in the opposite direction.
Sophie said she had heard lots of people making comments about the crash and wanted to let people know how she feels.
She said: "I know people have been really nasty and I want it to be known I don't blame the driver of the van.
"I know it was a complete accident. He did everything he could possibly do to avoid anything happening to Chris."
Sophie added: "I don't know who he is, but I know he's completely devastated. I don't hold any grudges and I don't blame him.
"People have said stuff about Chris as well – but it was a just a complete accident."
Sophie also praised her friends and family for the support they have given her since the crash, especially her mother.
She said Chris's friends and colleagues from the prison have been amazing and had a collection to help support her and her new baby.
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