The heartbroken family of a teenager who died after returning from holiday have paid tribute to their beloved son and thanked the community for their ‘unbelievable’ support.
Lewis Close, of Mansfield Road, Edwinstowe, took ill while on holiday in Turkey with his family and was forced to undergo a life-saving operation to remove his appendix.
However the 14-year-old’s condition deteriorated after he was flown home and he was rushed to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.
He passed away last Wednesday.
His father Rene, who lives in Forest Town and with whom he was on holiday with, said: “He was a sporty lad, he loved his friends and his football and he always wanted to be outside.
“Lewis was a genuine, likeable funny guy with a lovely nature and was very close to his family, especially his mum and mamma (grandmother) before she passed away last year.
“The last week has been absolutely torture for his family, but the communities of Mansfield Woodhouse, Bilsthorpe, Ollerton and Edwinstowe have been superb.
“We’ve had people come to the door, there’s been cards and flowers, it’s been unbelievable.
“Without them we would be in a different place today. Whatever they are doing to help us grieve, it is helping.”
The Dukeries pupil had complained about stomach problems before he boarded the flight to Turkey, but it was put down to nerves.
Rene took him to a chemist where he was given stomach settlers, but on the third day of the holiday a doctor was called who admitted him to hospital with a burst appendix.
After the operation, he spent days in hospital recovering before he was flown back to Britain where his mother, Fiona, cared for him at their home in Edwinstowe where he lived with his step-dad and two step-brothers.
But the young Nottingham Forest fan failed to recover, was unable to eat and he eventually suffered a seizure while at King’s Mill Hospital.
He was taken to the paediatric intensive care unit at the Queen’s Medical Centre, where he remained for three weeks.
It was found that he had abscesses in his abdomen, and had suffered from liver failure, kidney failure and severe septicaemia.
“It was not until his seizure at King’s Mill that we thought it was serious as this,” explained Rene.
“We were taken into a room where we were told that he was not going to live, that was just horrible.
“My heart feels empty, but I’ve got two other children to care for. I’ve got the 14 years of memories I had with him, and I’ll keep them. We just want to know why this has happened.”
His mother Fiona added: “He touched a lot of people’s hearts and he will never be forgotten.”
Danny Smith, principal at Dukeries Academy also paid his tribute, saying: “Lewis was a popular boy with both students and staff throughout the Academy, liked by many for his kind nature, positive attitude and ability to make people smile.
“The whole Academy is saddened to hear of his death and we will remember him in our own special way; our thoughts and sincerest sympathies go out to his family and friends at this very sad time.”
The strength of feeling in the community is reflected in a series of events organised by friends and family to raise money for the Queen’s Medical Centre, and possibly a memorial to the youngster.
Members of his team, Southwell Falcons U15s, for whom Lewis played centre midfield, postponed their game as a mark respect, but other teams held a minute silence.
This weekend there is to be a football match in his memory held at Manor Park sports field in Mansfield Woodhouse, kicking off at 3pm.
His friends from school have also organised a fun run starting at the McDonald’s restaurant in Ollerton at 8am on Sunday.
A charity zumba class is planned for 6th November and a fundraising evening is also planned for 16th November at Fairways Bar in Mansfield Woodhouse with a raffle, auction and a charity waxing.
There is also a justgiving page set up which has raised £1,260 already. Log on to www.justgiving.com/Rebecca-Marshall4 to donate.