The family of a teenager killed in a County Durham crash last week have paid heartfelt tributes to the youngster. 

Joseph Callender was a passenger in a Ford Fiesta which was travelling on the B6278, at Marwood, near Barnard Castle, last Wednesday (January 25) when the car left the road and collided with a tree shortly after 5.20pm. 

The 17-year-old suffered serious injuries as a result of the collision and was taken to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, for treatment.

Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, he sadly died in hospital on Sunday (January 29).

Joseph’s heartbroken family have today paid tribute to him, describing him as someone who will be “forever loved and cherished by all who met him”.

“At 1.13pm on Sunday, our lives as a family changed forever - our beautiful boy Joseph Callender lost his battle following the horrific incident he was involved in on Wednesday,” they said.

“He was given a small chance by the amazing efforts of the emergency services, especially the HEMS doctor who got him to James Cook Hospital, the team at the trauma unit who fought so hard to save his life and the absolutely fantastic members of the Intensive Care Unit that were by his side constantly and who treated him flawlessly and with the dignity he so deserved. Unfortunately, their efforts were in vain.

“We are just grateful that they were able to give us the time we needed as a family to be with him and give us all, along with his best friends the chance to say our goodbyes, for that we will be eternally grateful."

His family also said Joseph's heart has gone towards saving the life of another person - something they are grateful for.

The family statement continued: “A small consolation is that Joseph had registered as an organ donor and we were informed that his huge heart has gone on to give another boy the greatest gift he could, the chance of life.

“We are beyond devastated by the events and we would appreciate some privacy at this difficult time to try and come to terms with our loss. Joseph will forever be loved and cherished by all who met him and he will forever be by our side and in our hearts RIP Son x.”

An investigation by Durham Constabulary’s Collision Investigation Unit is underway to establish the circumstances.

Officers would like to hear from anyone who might have witnessed the collision, or have any information that could assist their investigation.

Anyone with information should call 101, quoting incident reference number 312 of January 25.