Family's grief over death of ex-JFS boy in motorbike accident

Relatives and friends of David Pressman recall him as 'selfless, determined and happy'


The family of a former JFS pupil who died after a motorcycle accident have spoken of their grief at his loss.

David Pressman from Whetstone died in the early hours of Sunday morning from injuries sustained in the accident last Wednesday.

The 17-year-old was airlifted to the Royal London Hospital after coming off his bike on the A41 near Hendon. After emergency surgery on Thursday, his family was told he would not survive.

His mother Suzanne said: “I had my hand on his heart until the last beat. I was there 24/7 and did not leave his side for five days and nights. No words will be able to describe how wonderful a son and brother he was. He was the most remarkable young man and he gave so much love to everybody."

Paying tribute to his son, Eli Pressman said David was “selfless, happy and determined.

“He always put other people above himself and his close friends would tell you he would do anything for them. He never just thought about himself. He was always helping others.”

David had also attended Wolfson Hillel Primary. He left JFS last year after completing his GCSEs, moving on to take a course in theatre studies at Westminster Kingsway College.

“He knew that was the world he was going to be in,” his father said. “His talent was in acting. He would have gone on to work in theatre full-time and we would have been happy. He was very determined and focused and had such a passion.

“It was torture when he passed away. There are no words adequate to express the heartache and pain.”

Around 500 people were at the funeral at Waltham Abbey Cemetery, including family and friends he had made at school, college and through his motorcycle club.

JFS sent a coach of 29 pupils, having offered compassionate leave to anyone wishing to attend. Teachers spoke to pupils on Monday about David’s death and grief counsellors were made available.

The family said they were “overwhelmed” by the turnout at the funeral, saying: “David did have a gift for making people laugh and it is clear from the huge number of people who attended the funeral just how far that gift has spread.”

More than 100 messages of condolences have been left on the Facebook page of David’s sister Lauren.

She posted: “Words won’t be able to describe how much I and all of the family will miss him forever. But none of us will ever forget the incredible impact he left on so many people.

“He really couldn’t have been a nicer and kinder boy, friend, brother [and] son if he tried.”

A JustGiving page, set up in David’s memory by friends Talia Coberman and Eloise Sinclair had raised more than £1,000 mental health charity Mind.

David had suffered from anxiety and depression, Mr Pressman said, but had recovered and had been “in a really good place”.

Ms Coberman said she wanted to “carry on David’s legacy” of championing mental health causes. He had planned a sponsored skydive for Mind.

“He was getting help himself and he was helping others, too.

“We weren’t expecting so many donations in one day, especially when everyone is still grieving. He really was so well-liked.”

Marc Lesner, David’s cousin, said the response to his death had demonstrated what a “special boy he was”. He was proud of the impact David had made on the lives of others.

Lee Barker, who knew him through the motorcycle club, said: “He had the biggest smile I’d ever seen. He had a heart of gold.”

David’s one-time youth director at Cockfosters and North Southgate Synagogue, Eliot Young, said: “Community and helping others was at the core of his personality. He helped at the local shul kids’ club and often spoke about ideas he had to make it better and attract more kids. That’s one of the many reasons the kids looked up to him.”

Joe Woolf, who was his madrich on an Israel tour last summer, recalled him as “a boy who asked little of anyone but knew how to make everyone smile”.

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