Emotional tributes were paid to two cousins described as “cheeky lads with big hearts” at an inquest into their deaths.

Michael Andrew Henderson and Stephen Chambers died following a car crash in Whitehaven last May.

Mr Henderson was a father of two while Mr Chambers had a five-year-old daughter.

Both were former pupils at St Mary’s Primary School in Kells and St Benedict’s School in Hensingham.

A statement read on behalf of Mr Henderson’s mother, Selina Rothery, said: “Losing both of them together was a tragedy but I do get some comfort from knowing they were together.”

After leaving school, Mr Henderson had held down a number of jobs while Mr Chambers spent time working for his father, who is also called Stephen, as an apprentice plumber.

Mr Chambers Jr later worked in Whitehaven pubs including Taylor’s Tavern and the Bransty Arch, then at the Howgate.

He planned to go back to college with a view to returning to plumbing, which was his passion, and was said to have “doted on” his daughter.

A statement read on behalf of Mr Chambers Sr said: “They were like two peas in a pod.

“She was a proper daddy’s girl and was heartbroken about his loss, as we all are.”

He said his son was happy and looking forward to a bright future with his girlfriend Simonne.

“What hurts most is that he won’t get to see his daughter grow up,” he added.

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