THE parents of a former Royal Wootton Bassett Academy pupil, who died in a car crash while visiting old school friends in Lyneham, have paid a heartfelt tribute to their son.

William Ainsworth, 20, was travelling in the rear passenger seat of a VW Golf with three others when the crash happened on the A3102 at Snow Hill at 12.50am on Saturday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a statement, the family said: “William James Ainsworth, adored son of Wendy and Michael, and deeply loved brother of Amelia, was born on August 20, 1997.

He died on September 30 following a road traffic accident whilst visiting friends in Lyneham.

“William, a former pupil of Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, was living in London with his parents. A part of his heart, however, was always in the Wiltshire countryside and with his lifelong friends, whom he lovingly referred to as his ‘second family’.

“It was William’s one stated ambition to return to the area and to his friends, following the successful completion of his Business Studies at Bexley College.

“A wonderful, kind, gentle, fun and loving soul, William made time for everyone and enriched the lives of all he met. He will remain in our hearts forever and be greatly missed by all who knew him.”

Royal Wootton Bassett Academy’s headteacher George Croxford also paid tribute to the ‘endearing’ young man. He said: “The tragic news about Will has left us all truly devastated here at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy. We recall him with the fondest of memories.

“Will spent many happy years with us here at the school, and his endearing nature meant he was such a popular character with staff and students alike.

“This was especially so at Sixth Form, where he was a major figure in his year group, where everyone knew and loved Will.

“Our sincerest sympathies go out to his friends and family, especially his devoted parents, at this very sad time.”

The driver of the car and the other backseat passenger suffered minor injuries and the front seat passenger suffered a serious arm injury. Anyone with information should call the police on 101.