TWO families unite in sorrow today (Thursday) when the ashes of a young man killed in a road accident are interred next to the grave of his best friend who was also a car crash victim less than four months earlier.

Friends and family of Richard Carrington, 22, of Little Hayes, Wolverley, who died in a car accident at Iverley on March 3, are due to say their farewells at Stourbridge Crematorium today after yesterday's funeral in the village church.

Alongside them at the funeral were relatives of Richard's best friend Lee Antcliff whose death at the age of 23 when his car hit a lamp-post also shocked the village last November.

Richard died in Russell Hall hospital, Dudley, after he was in a head-on collision with an overtaking car while returning home on the A451 after a night out at the pictures with his girlfriend.

The Wolverley community was all the more stunned by the tragedy because of the long and close friendship of the two popular young men who lived only a few paces away from each other's front doors.

Speaking for the first time after his son's death, Gordon Carrington, who is estranged from Richard's mother Sharon and now lives in Cheltenham, said he would desperately miss the close relationship he had with him.

"He was a lovely lad with a beautiful nature. He was a perfect boy who would do anything for anybody. We were often on the phone. He came and fitted my carpets a month ago.

"What has happened is like a bad dream and I still cannot believe it."

He said Richard and Lee were often together with friends and family.

"Lee was a really great chap, like a second son. He once went out with Richard's sister Becky. We were all so close it was like a united family." he said.

Lee's mother Heather said the two families had got together to agree that Richard's ashes should be laid as close as possible to the grave of her son who was also a popular figure in the community.

"It is something we felt would be comforting to all of us," she said.