TRIBUTES have been paid to a teenager who was killed on railway tracks near Hinton Admiral last week.

Joseph Barber was hit by a train at around 12.55am on Tuesday, February 23.

The 17-year-old had attended Ringwood School before beginning sixth form at Brockenhurst College.

Ringwood’s head teacher Christina Edwards said she was “desperately sad” to hear of Joseph’s death.

“He was a young man who had real character,” she said.

“He was creative and knew his own mind.”

She said Joseph had worked with a small group of boys to put forward a recommendation to change the design of the school’s ties.

“This was adopted, and every pupil in the school now wears that new design,” Ms Edwards said.

“He wanted to make a change, and he did. He will be greatly missed.”

A bridge over the railway line has been the focus for friends wishing to pay their respects.

Dozens of bouquets have been laid at the bridge in Joseph’s memory, while the word ‘Joe’ has been scrawled on the brick wall.

One message, signed ‘Amy’, reads: “You were the most complex yet intellectual person I have ever had the pleasure to meet, let alone call my friend.

“The amount of memories I have of you that just bring a smile to my face is phenomenal.”

Joseph’s friend Morgan Harris, 16, said he was one of the last people to hear from him.

He said: “Joe had been my friend since primary school where we would play games in the playground and have sleepovers.

“He stuck by me through thick and thin. I only wish I could have done more to help him.

“Joe was never judgemental: if you were kind to him, he was kind to you.”

Officers from Hampshire Constabulary and the British Transport Police were called to the track in the early hours of last Tuesday after a train driver reported a collision on the line.

Ambulance crews also attended, but Joseph was pronounced dead at the scene.

An inquest into the death is expected to open early this week.