CHILDHOOD friends of Viola Beach’s River Reeves, who tragically died in a car accident alongside band members in Sweden earlier this month, have spoken fondly about the musician.
Before moving with family to Warrington in Cheshire, River who was 19, attended Potters Gate Primary School in Farnham, while living at The Chantrys.
He sadly lost his life alongside fellow band members Kris Leonard, 19, Jack Dakin, 24, and Tomas Lowe, 27, and their manager, 32-year-old Craig Tarry, after their car plunged more than 80ft off a canal bridge. They were returning from a night performing at the Where’s The Music Festival in Norrkoping, Sweden.
Two-Counties Care worker Skye De-Ninis, who met River while also attending Potters Gate, recalled his crazy hairstyles and the way that River was always able to lift spirits.
“He looked like he had just rocked out of bed but he could always pull it off. He was the class clown all the time and such a good laugh. At school he looked like the sort to be a musician, I mean his hair was exactly like what his personality was” said Skye.
“I was gobsmacked, absolutely gobsmacked when I found out. I couldn’t believe it, such a young age. He loved his whole career of the band, I saw it all the time, him going to gigs and things like that.
“At first I just thought no, no and now it’s out there, it’s like it has actually happened. Big shock. The band was a new beginning for him pretty much and now it’s all been taken, for all of them.
“I probably to this day have never seen River cry, he’ll pick you up in seconds – he was very strong. He’s brilliant. It’s a shame to see him go and it was a shame that he moved out of the area and I hadn’t said goodbye before, but you never know what’s around the corner.”
Ben Cogbill, 19, who was a neighbour of River while living in The Chantrys, reminisced about their childhood, he said: “We were best friends as children. We first met from just visiting the local park and playing outside our houses. We were together pretty much everyday after school and on the weekends.
“He was a very cheeky guy, always making jokes and he was always smiling and laughing.
“Unfortunately when I moved away we were still young and phones and Facebook weren’t really a thing, so we weren’t able to keep in contact although I did try to search for him a few years later when Facebook did become popular.
“I had seen and heard a bit about the news but their names were never mentioned and so it wasn’t till a few days after that I heard about it through a friend’s status!
“I was in complete shock when I realised and I was very upset, it was only less than a year ago I was trying to make contact with him.”
Since the accident the indie band has entered the UK charts, and their debut single Swings & Waterslides is currently number 11 in the Official Singles Chart Top 40.