THE PARENTS of a Wotton-under-Edge student killed in a car crash the day after his birthday have paid tribute to the “light of their lives.”

Jake Rebbeck died when his grey MG ZR Rover collided with a van outside Kingscote last Wednesday (March 5), just 10 minutes from his parent’s home in Uley.

A student at Southampton Solent University, Jake had been driving home to celebrate his 21st birthday with family and friends.

His parents, Carl and Maggie Rebbeck, said their family was utterly devastated by the tragedy.

“Jake was a beautiful, funny, loving son, brother and uncle and life without him and his infectious smile is unimaginable,” they said. “He was happy, vibrant and a wonderful storyteller who would put a smile on anyone’s face with his humorous take on life.”

Jake grew up in Wotton, attending Blue Coat Primary School and Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School.

He went on to study at Cirencester College and had spent much of the year before university working at Hunter’s Hall in Calcot.

He was in his first year of a foundation degree in Business Studies and his parents said he was enjoying the new and exciting chapter of his life in Southampton.

Flowers from grieving family and friends have been left the site between Hunter’s Hall and Calcot, where the two vehicles collided at 5.50am on Wednesday morning.

Emergency services attended the scene and the road was closed off for a number of hours while traffic was diverted via Newington Barn.

An inquest into Jake’s death was opened and adjourned on Tuesday by the Gloucestershire Coroner.

Many of Jake’s loved ones gathered at the weekend to comfort each other and share their happy memories. He leaves behind brother Toby, 28, sister Josie, 31, and her two young children.

His parents added: “He is profoundly missed by his brother and sister, and he was, with them, the light of our lives.”

“It is as if a switch has been turned off – but the light burns ever bright.

“His joy for life will remain and endure forever as a precious gift for all who were privileged to have known him.”

Anyone who may have seen the accident is asked to contact Gloucestershire Police on 101, quoting incident number 29 of March 5.