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Josh's memory lives on

PUBLISHED: 15:46 08 October 2009 | UPDATED: 21:43 07 July 2010

HE was a popular pupil who was determined to have fun with his classmates despite his illness.

Sadly six-year-old Josh Shackleton died last year after developing a brain stem tumour, but he will not be forgotten by his friends at Gooderstone Church of England Primary School.

HE was a popular pupil who was determined to have fun with his classmates despite his illness.

Sadly six-year-old Josh Shackleton died last year after developing a brain stem tumour, but he will not be forgotten by his friends at Gooderstone Church of England Primary School.

Last Thursday the Duke of Gloucester visited the school to oversee the dedication of a special friendship bench donated by Josh's parents in memory of their son. The Duke also met many of Josh's classmates and opened the school's refurbished wildlife area.

He said it was a pleasure to visit the school and that the bench was a splendid way to remember Josh.

He told the pupils, staff and parents: “Although it is very sad that he is no longer with us, in some ways he is with us and that is the purpose of this bench.”

Josh fell ill in June 2007 and the tumour was diagnosed the following month when he was six-years-old. He had radiotherapy, but died in February 2008.

His parents John and Elise Shackleton, 62 and 45 respectively, and who also have a five-year-old daughter called Jessie, described their son as a kind-hearted boy who was fanatically keen on cars and football.

They said that he loved his time at Gooderstone Primary and that his fellow pupils had been so kind and gentle towards him. Josh kept going to classes there until two weeks before he died.

Mrs Shackleton, from The Street, Gooderstone, said: “He was very good at maths and he loved football. He loved joining in and being normal.”

His father Dr Shackleton said that Josh's bench, which is located in the school's play area, was meant for the children to play on and enjoy, and that since it had been given to the school in the spring it had been extremely well used.

He said: “It is to help children who might be feeling a bit left out. They can meet other children there.

“Josh was very sensitive to people who were in need. He was always protecting other children. He was very kind-hearted.”

Josh's class teacher Pamela Downs said: “He had the most amazing sense of humour and was a real personality. He was an incredibly likeable little boy.

“He joined in absolutely everything. I have pictures of him in his wheelchair playing tennis.

“The children really liked him and they were all keen to push him in his wheelchair and play football with him. He was a very special little boy.”

The school has also planted an apple tree in memory of Josh and during sports day, school teams compete to win the Joshua Shackleton Cup.

Josh's parents also said that they would like to thank the school, and the charities EACH (East Anglia's Children's Hospices) and CLIC Sargent for all their support.


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