Friends of dog attack victim Liam Hewitson have launched a special fund to help give him an emotional send-off.
Hundreds are expected to attend the funeral when the popular 22-year-old is laid to rest over the next week.
And, as one anonymous donor gave £1,000 towards funeral expenses and staff at a Preston pub chipped in £150, Liam’s grieving family paid a heartfelt tribute to “a beautiful soul with a heart of gold.”
“Liam was one of the best,” relative Lorraine Sanderson told the Evening Post. “He was fantastic, with a heart of gold. He would do anything to help anyone in need.
“It’s hard to explain how much of a nice lad he was with his big heart and his cheeky chappy smile. He was always a happy cookie and loved and respected by everybody.
“Such a beautiful soul who will be sadly missed by everyone whose life he touched - and he touched many lives. It is such a tragic loss.”
Liam died on New Year’s Day at home in Dundonald Street, Preston, when his pet dog Trigger attacked him as he was having an epileptic fit.
Police said later that the five-year-old pit-bull cross, which was put down by a vet, was not a banned breed.
The dog had been reared by Liam from a pup and relatives said the two were inseparable.
“He loved Trigger like he was his child,” said Lorraine. “He was well looked after, well fed and exercised. He was never a vicious dog. We don’t want Liam and his dog to be painted in the wrong light.”
Details of Liam’s funeral have yet to be announced. But a fund, set up by friends on the charity site GoFundMe, had raised more than £3,000 by today to help with funeral expenses.
The fund has attracted 61 separate donations in its first three days. To make a contribution go to www.gofundme.com and click on Help Liam Hewitson’s Big Send-off.