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Hayes School leavers' last tribute to lost friend Mason Gibbs
FIVE years since a teenager died from cancer his friends held a memorial fundraiser at their school for the last time.
Every year since Mason Gibbs’s death on April 30, 2007, pupils at Hayes Secondary School have staged an event to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
His class friends are set to leave the school in West Common Road, Hayes, at the end of term so made sure last Friday’s event was extra special.
Friend Chloe Ward, 17, said: "The show was mainly singers and dancers in mixed age groups from Year 7 to Year 12 to 22 and 23 years old.
“Mason loved singing and dancing so much and this is what we think he would have done if he’d still been alive.
“For us it is extremely important to stage the shows because when we lost him it was very hard, especially for me because he was my best friend.
“We knew we would never forget him and we wanted to make sure everybody else would remember him.
“He was such a happy soul, even when he was ill he would never not have a smile on his face.
“It was so hard to lose him and he was so loved.”
Mason’s mother Karen Golding, of Larkfield Close, Hayes, says dealing with the anniversary of her son’s death is always tough but it is made easier to cope with because his friends have not forgotten him.
Ms Golding, who also has two daughters, said: “It makes a very sad time a happy one.
“They are so keen to celebrate his life rather than mourn the fact he is not here.
“It shows what kind of character he was that they want to keep his name going and the school always allow them to do this.
“And the school put him in the yearbook and gave him a centre spread.”
"If I got on the stage that night I would have crumbled so this is my way of saying thank you."
In the days after Mason’s death from the soft tissue tumour rhabdomyosarcoma Ms Golding, 45, found it difficult to go out at the end of a school day because she would see pupils on their way home.
But now she visits the water feature which was built at Hayes School in Mason’s memory and is pleased his spirit will live on there even now the memorial events have finished.
She said: “His younger sister was due on the first anniversary of his death and she will eventually go to Hayes where her brother’s water feature is, and that is nice to know.”