TEARS were shed as a Leigh family spoke of their pride in their son who died during the Hillsborough disaster.

The inquest into the deaths of 96 football fans heard a statement from the mother of Carl Brown who said the 18-year-old lived a short but fulfilled and happy life.

Delia Brown said she did not think she could have children with husband Terry before they were 'blessed' with two children Mark and Carl.

Members of the jury and public including Leigh MP Andy Burnham heard Carl was from a close family whose second home was their caravan and was due to start at Manchester University.

Family friend Karen Aspinall read the statement on behalf of Carl’s family and added: “All of his short life, Carl followed his brother around like a shadow and always wanted to be doing what Mark was doing.”

The chess fan, who won a number of competitions, would often get ‘hooked’ on the latest crazes including skateboarding, CB radios, BMX bikes and then computers.

Ms Aspinall added: “Carl was really committed and put everything into it, his drive and complete enjoyment was infectious.”

The court heard Carl became an ‘avid’ Liverpool fan in high school and never missed a game home or away.

He left school with five O levels and ‘loved’ his two years at Leigh Sixth Form College.

She added: “On his 17th birthday my husband and I bought him his most prized possession a Ford Escort car.

“Within seven weeks he passed his test first time and grew in confidence, smiling and happy picking up his friends to go to college.

“Carl loved his family as much as it loved him.

“We only had 18 years and three weeks with him but he never caused us any problems.

“He only had a short life but it was a fulfilled and happy one and we were very proud of him.”

Carl’s dad Terry died suddenly aged 57 from a heart attack which Ms Aspinall said changed the family unit forever but they know Terry and Carl have now been reunited.