The family of a Kettering man killed in a horrific collision on the A14 on Saturday night have spoken of their pride for their “amazing” son.
Stephen Donnelly, 26, and his girlfriend Mandy Gold, 21, were driving back to their homes in South Yorkshire after Stephen had performed music at a family wedding in Kettering at about 11pm when the crash happened.
His parents, Mark and Sue, this week said the couple, who had been together for about a year, had planned to marry.
They said: “Stephen was an amazing, dedicated young man of God, who was passionate about sharing the love of Jesus.
“Having grown up as part of the church family at Christ the King in Kettering, Stephen spent the past five years working for Antioch Community Church in Sheffield, where he was involved with taking that love all around the world.
“As messages of support have flooded in, it has become apparent that he had a positive and lasting influence on many lives in a way that is more profound than we could ever have believed or imagined.
“We are so proud of him. He is a great loss, not only to us, but also to the wider world.
“Stephen met Mandy through his church and they had been together for just about a year.
“She was a beautiful, talented young woman, and she and Stephen intended to get married.
“They worked together in the church with the same aims and passions, and they will be greatly missed by everyone who knew them.”
Stephen was born and raised in Kettering, attending Bishop Stopford School.
He studied pure mathematics at the University of Sheffield and after graduating began working for chocolate firm Cadbury’s.
However, in 2011 he took voluntary redundancy and “answered a call from God”, taking a full-time position at Antioch Community Church, where he had worked as a student pastor for several years.
He was a talented guitar and piano player, and a colleague at Antioch Community Church said Stephen could have been a concert-level piano player if he had chosen that route.
Todd Roberts, senior pastor at Antioch Community Church, where Stephen worked, said: “Stephen and Mandy were definitely young and in love.
“It seemed like they were headed in a good direction.”
As well as his parents Mark and Sue, Stephen also leaves behind sisters Esther and Ruth.
Police are appealing for witnesses after Saturday night’s collision on the westbound carriageway of the A14 between junctions 2 and 1 at about 11pm.
Stephen and Mandy’s green Ford Ka was involved in a collision with a light-coloured Mercedes vehicle and a red Peugeot 208.
They would also like to speak to anyone who may have seen a light coloured Mercedes saloon car being driven on the A43 near Corby or Kettering, or travelling in either direction on the A14 between junctions 1 and 7.
Witnesses are asked to call police on 0800 174615.