Following his tragic death, friends of the teenager, known as Rodders due to his tall build, described him as an outgoing, sociable guy who loved to be the centre of attention.
Paul's dad, also called Paul, paid tribute to his son and said: “I could not have asked for a better son. Anyone who knew him will understand what I am saying.
“The support has been overwhelming and we have been comforted by it. It really makes such a difference and I would like to say thank you to everyone who is being so supportive.
“It has all been such a shock and hasn't really sunk in yet.”
Paul’s best friend Neil Elliott, who had lived with the trainee mechanic for the past two years, said he was a great friend.
The 25-year-old said: “He was funny and loud. Everyone loved him.”
Friends of the former student at Porchester Community School, now called Harewood College, said everyone who knew him had been left devastated by the news.
Annie Morris said: “Everyone’s in shock.”
The 18-year-old added: “We had a party at Christmas and I remember he said he couldn’t be happier. He said ‘I’ve got a good job, a good car and money in my pocket’.”
She added: “He was only four months away from qualifying. He loved his job.”
Paul's shocked bosses described him as “a fantastic employee” and “part of our family”.
Kellie and Andrew Cox have known Paul since he was 12-years-old and he worked for them at Automotive Vehicle Services in Verwood until he was killed in a car crash on Saturday morning.
“Paul was not only a fantastic employee, he was also a huge part of our family” said Kellie.
“He would do anything for anyone and had such a lovely, outgoing personality and a great sense of fun.
“We will miss his smile and his amazing ability to make people laugh.”
Kellie said Paul joined the staff when he left school at the age of 16 and was weeks away from becoming a fully qualified technician.
“He had a brilliant work ethic. Rodders will be so greatly missed by all – it is shocking and very sad.”
Kellie said Paul had recently moved out of his family home in Boscombe and lived with a friend nearby. He has a younger sister.
He was due to work on Saturday morning and his fellow employees soon became concerned when he failed to turn up.
“We tried to phone him a couple of times because it was not like him to be late for work. We phoned his dad and he went round to his house and found out he had left for work.”
She said his dad, also called Paul, went to the garage and police broke the terrible news
Emergency services were called to Hurn Road, which runs alongside the A338 Southbound, at around 8.50am on Saturday.
Local resident Dennis Thompson was one of the first people on the scene following the crash, which took place just after the junction to Avon Avenue.
He said he saw the car moments before the crash.
“I was indicating to turn off and just saw the car heading towards the tree,” he said.
“I pulled over and ran back and then we spotted him.
“He wasn't moving at all. There was nothing we could do for him.”
A woman, believed to be a nurse, sat with Paul while the emergency services were on their way.
Police officers, paramedics and a doctor flown in by air ambulance, attempted to save him.
Despite their efforts he was later pronounced dead at the scene.
On Saturday police launched an investigation to establish the cause of the collision.
Speaking from the scene, traffic sergeant Joe Pardey said: "Our collision investigators are working to try and establish the cause of why the vehicle left the road.
"We would like to appeal for any witnesses who may have seen that vehicle this morning.”
Anyone who saw the vehicle on the morning of the crash is asked to contact PC Rob Freeman of Dorset Police Traffic unit on 101.
Several bunches of flowers were tied to a tree at the site of the crash in memory of Paul.
One note left with the flowers said: "RIP Paul. You will be sorely missed. Gone too soon mate. We will all miss you so much. Rest in peace buddy.xxx"
Other messages included: "RIP Lanky. You will be missed but remembered by so many. Love you forever."
"RIP Paul. We'll miss your laugh and smiling face. Always in our thoughts."
“Dearest Rodders, You were the best! We love you so much.”
And: “Rodders, Rest in Peace. You were such a great lad.”
Shocked residents in Avon Castle – near to where the crash happened- described the youngster’s death as a tragedy.
Richard Routledge, who is building a house directly behind where the collision occurred, said: “I’d been working on the house since 8am but didn’t hear anything at all.
“It was only when we heard the sirens we knew something was wrong.
“He was so young. He hadn’t really lived.”
Mr Routledge said there had been a spate of accidents on the road in recent months.
He said: “This must be the fourth accident in the last year.
Claire Severgnini, who has lived in Egmont Drive for 10 years, said she was shocked to hear the sad news.
She said: “We heard the air ambulance but didn’t know what had happened.
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