Tributes to Prince's Trust worker after 'drug death'
A royal charity worker who died in a suspected drug incident after clubbing with friends sent a text to his girlfriend telling her he loved her just hours before his death, his mother said last night.
Nick Bonnie, 30, a former student at Plymouth University, worked as a manager for the Prince of Wales' young people's charity, The Prince's Trust and had been to Highgrove on several occasions and attended one of the Queen's garden parties at Buckingham Palace. He was with friends at the Warehouse Project in Trafford, Manchester, when he fell ill in the early hours of Saturday morning and died in hospital.
His family paid tribute to him while revealing that his long-term girlfriend Leah Wilkins was a "broken young woman" who will "never be the same again" following his death.
When asked about Leah, his mother Pauline, who works for a drug rehabilitation charity, told ITV News: "She's an absolutely broken young woman. Her life will never be the same again. Perfect couple. Beautiful couple. Loved each other so much. In fact, he sent a text to Leah at 11o'clock that evening saying he loved her.
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"Whether his drink was spiked, I don't know. Please don't judge our son and don't assume he's a drug user. There's no proof that he voluntarily took these substances. The hole our son left will never be filled."
Police are warning of a suspected "particularly bad batch" of drugs in circulation, with five others from the venue admitted to hospital.
In a statement Pauline, and Nick's father Andy Bonnie, said: "This news has devastated the lives of us, Nick's two brothers Thomas and Ryan, and his beautiful devoted girlfriend, Leah.
"Our family and friends, Nick's friends, work colleagues, all those who had the privilege of knowing him and those he helped in his employment with the Prince's Trust, are equally devastated.
"Nick was born in King's Stanley and went to the local primary school. He progressed to Marling before taking a gap year and travelling around Australia before gaining his degree at university in Plymouth. He returned home to work with a local firm of solicitors in Stroud before embarking on the true vocation of his life, working with the Prince's Trust. He has helped many young people in the early stages of his employment there and helped raise funds and promote the profile of the Trust in his current role.
"Nick was known by many as having a big heart, big personality and the most infectious smile in Stroud.
"Our thanks go out to all those who have taken the time to send messages of support to our family. Our lives and all those who were blessed to share a part in his life, are broken. Our life will never be the same without Nick and he will never be forgotten."
Police have launched an investigation. Five other people were admitted to hospital feeling unwell after taking a "controlled drug" – believed to be ecstasy, at the same venue, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.