Lowestoft teenager Rory Davies hailed as ‘an inspiration’

IT was a fitting farewell for a teenager who was described as 'an inspiration'. Family, close friends, teachers and former classmates of 15-year-old Rory Davies were among 300 people who gathered on Wednesday for a memorial service to celebrate his life.

At the event, at the Wherry Hotel at Oulton Broad, touching tributes were paid to the Benjamin Britten High School pupil who died after a 14-month battle against brain and spinal cancer last month.

Civil funeral celebrant Steven Haughton, who led the service, said Rory's death had touched so many people but, like the theme song of his favourite football team, West Ham, the impact he had had on all those who met him ensured that he would remain forever in the hearts of the people of Lowestoft.

'Whenever you hear I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles, think of Rory,' Mr Haughton added. 'If we could turn the clocks back, we would do it to make things right for Rory.

'He underwent seven operations for his illness, intense chemo-therapy and radiotherapy, but did it get him down? No!

'But, after the highs of being told the disease was inactive, life does what it often does: it kicked again, and in January Rory and the family were told the cancer had returned and it was unoperable.

'Rory knew what it meant, but he did not let go. He kept going for as long as he could; he did what he wanted; and he organised this service. Rory has set an example to all: to his friends and the older generation. For all his treatment he remained a model patient and he has left a legacy for all – one which shows that life is for living and fighting is OK as long as it is done in the right way.'

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Rory loved sports, excelling in the martial art kuk sool won and enjoying soccer, fishing, body-boarding, snowboarding and powerkiting, as well as showing a talent in art, music and science.

Three songs by his favourite band, Muse, were played: Resistance, Invincible and Uprising. The latter features the line 'We will be victorious', which is now repeated on hundreds of wristbands that are being sold to raise money for a new cancer unit for teenagers at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.

Speeches were also made by Rory's school head, David Park, and his kuk sool won instructor, Jon Denny.

Describing him as a oustanding and outgoing person, Mr Denny said Rory became one of the youngest kuk sool won exponents in the country to gain a second-degree black belt. 'In front of 3,000 people at a ceremony in King's Lynn last June, when Rory was very ill at the time, he was being pushed in a wheelchair to receive his award, but he told his dad Andy to stop and walked there on his own two feet to collect his certificate, to a standing ovation,' Mr Denny added. 'It was the most inspiring thing I have ever seen in 18 years of kuk sool won.'

Mr Park said staff and pupils at Benjamin Britten High had been inspired by Rory and his dad Andy's Three Peaks Challenge attempt and efforts to raise more than �5,000 through a series of events for Addenbrooke's.

A memorial garden and graffiti wall – which has become five walls covered with messages – have been set up at the school, and pupils have held two sell-out fundraising gigs.

Mr Park said: 'Rory taught us how precious life is and to live for each day.

'Even in his darkest day's Rory's fundamental character remained unchanged. He kept on thinking about others, thinking how they would be feeling, putting them first, and it is this characteristic that is talked about and written so often on the memory walls.'

Andy's Three Peaks attempt is in June. To sponsor him, go to www.teenagecancertrust.org/get-involved/as-a-fundraiser/fund raisers/clays-3-peak-challenge-team/