Rugby family’s grief at the loss of Joel

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A community has been left grief stricken after the death of popular teenager Joel Smith.

The 15 year old Bilton School pupil lost his brave battle against leukaemia on Thursday.

He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease last June and started on chemotherapy within hours of the diagnosis.

His devastated parents Lisa and stepdad Stuart, dad Dave and stepmum Kerry, are coming to terms with their loss.

“How do I even begin to describe somebody like Joel?” said Lisa, who lives in Hillmorton.

“He was an amazing person. Joel’s attitude since being diagnosed was amazing. He kept his sense of humour throughout and would still be silly and joking about even when he was in hospital.”

She said Joel had many friends and had lots of hobbies.

One of his great passions was rugby and he played for St Andrew’s Rugby Club.

His stepdad said he will be missed by everybody who knew him.

“Joel was a great boy,” said Stuart.

The couple said hundreds of people had shown their support by helping to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Family and friends have bought £2 bracelets in aid of the charity and a fun day has been organised by his friends.

Pupils will wear the bracelets to Bilton School on April 11 - a non-uniform day.

Michelle Kessna is helping to organise a fun day in memory of Joel.

She said: “Joel was a very friendly, happy and outgoing young lad.

“He was very strong courageous young lad and we hope to raise as much as we can in his memory.”

A Bilton School spokesman said: “We will continue to work with our students and families to support the whole school community at this extraordinarily sad and difficult time.”

The funeral arrangements for Joel Smith (Hammond) had not be finalised at the time of the Rugby Advertiser going to press.

He leaves four brothers and two sisters.

A fun day takes place in memory of Joel on Easter Sunday (April 20).

It starts at noon at the Oakfield Social Club in Bilton Road and everyone is welcome.

One of the event organisers, Michelle Kessna, said: “There will be a bouncy castle, local band Dukes Jetty, lucky dip, a sponsored hair shave, barbecue, raffle and disco.”

There will also be face painting and many more attractions in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Also planned is a sweet stall, raffle, cake stall, Easter egg hunt, sponsored walk, leg waxing, lucky dip and a sponsored bath in custard.

“I would like to thank everybody who has donated so far,” added Michelle.

Joel’s mother Lisa said she supported students and friends who wanted to help.

“I think it’s good something positive is being done in his memory,” she said.

For more information on the appeal, see Facebook’s Fundrasing For Teenage Cancer Trust group.