He was a real-life ‘Del Boy’ who wanted to make all around him ‘happy’.
Those are the loving words of the devastated family of Chris Mills who died after drowning in Walsall Arboretum lake, aged just 26.
Speaking for the first time since his death, his family pay tribute to the young father who got into difficulties in the water last Tuesday. They also thanked the hundreds of people who had passed on their condolences.
He did casual building work and is survived by his mother Denny Sargent, sister Hayley, and young son Brandon-Lee Mills. He lived with his grandmother Polly Wilkinson in Walsall.
In statement they said: “He was our very own Del Boy. Always wheeling and dealing, he tried to look out for everyone.
“His favourite saying was ‘I’m happy as long as you are happy’.” Nothing was too much trouble for him. He loved his music, being with the lads, and going to the gym. He’d turn his hand to anything and always have a go at anything with little or no payment at all to help others.
“He always wanted to make everyone happy and to make them laugh. There are not many people in life you can depend on but you could always depend on Chris. He was loyal, caring and thoughtful. As a family we are traumatised but overwhelmed with the community support we have been receiving. It shows how much he was truly loved.”
A fundraising evening has been arranged on Saturday at Birchills Liberal Club to help fundraise to help pay for his funeral costs.
There will be a bouncy castle, face painting, disco, cold buffet, balloons and a raffle. It will start at 7pm with £5 entry for adults and £1 for children.
His friend of 15 years Tina Wood has organised the event for the former Manor Farm School pupil. The 36-year-old said: “Not a soul can say a bad word about Chris he was so loved and always wanted to make people happy. We knew him as the Walsall Wanderer because he was always about and willing to help anyone.”
Emergency services rushed to the scene and two police officers went into the lake in an attempt to rescue him, but were unable to reach him underwater. His body was recovered the following day.
An inquest was opening today.