A GRIEVING family today paid tribute to their tragic son who was “going to be one of the top engineers in Europe”.
Marine engineer Jason Burden, 19, suffered fatal chest injuries when a piece of metal machinery fell on him as he worked for Wear Dock and Engineering Company at South Docks in Sunderland last Thursday.
Jason lived with parents Maria and Trevor, both 40, and sister Rachel, 15, brother Josh, 10.
Trevor, a self-employed taxi driver, said: “Jason was a great achiever. He did well at school and quickly got a qualification in basic engineering.
“He had a lot of best mates, but he was also my best mate, and we are the proudest parents.”
Jason was always destined to become an engineer.
He joined the Wear Dock and Engineering company in Sunderland at the age of 16 and soon established himself as a key member of staff.
Trevor added: “He loved his job and was a natural at it. He was destined for great things.
“He spent five weeks working in Norway in September and the bosses thought he was going to be one of the top engineers in Europe.”
Jason, of South Shields, was a keen footballer, and was goalkeeper for FC Simonside, a junior team run by his father in the Tyneside Chase Homes League.
He was also a promising DJ.
Maria, a shop worker, said: “Jason was a genuinely loving person and we never had an argument with him. He was too perfect.
“His brother and sister idolised him and loved him so much. The whole family will really miss him. It has been a huge shock for us all.”
Jason’s girlfriend of six years Rachel Conroy, 20, a bank worker, said: “We were childhood sweethearts. Jason thought of himself as very slick. At school they did Mr Man awards, and Jason was voted as Mr Cool.
“But he was a really nice, genuine lad. He had so many friends and I know that he loved his family, he was very appreciative of Trevor and Maria.
“We enjoyed holidays together and had so many plans. He was full of life and was funny, and it’s hard to believe we’ve lost him.”
An investigation has been launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the accident, which is ongoing.