Sammy developed a love of hot air balloons from an early age and he also loved all things inflatable, bouncy castles and slides. He owned an inflatable canoe which he took great care of, carefully packing it away when not in use, and Sammy was very particular about who could borrow it. Sammy’s sisters also remembered trips out to Dreamland, a vintage funfair in Ramsgate. They’d enjoy the Scenic Railway and Sammy’s favourite was a ride that would go in circles, stop at the top and drop down all of a sudden. Sammy had no fear, he loved it.
Sammy clearly had an acute eye for those that paid attention to detail, and he was a discerning customer. He had one favourite fish and chip shop who could do it ‘properly’, that is make his meal just the way he liked it, which if you’re interested is ‘fish, no chips, mushy peas, no sweetie, a pickled egg, all in one bag’.
You can read more about Sammy in the blog post written on his 14th birthday below.
Sammy was exceptional, a dearly loved son and brother. With his wonderful sense of humour and happy disposition, we enjoyed a joyful family life. We had projects, adventures and a future planned. He had so much yet to give. Sammy bravely faced what society threw at him, persevering to try to overcome challenges arising from his disability. We had a very close connection and bond. I learnt so much from him, and I am so proud of him.
Although I did all I could to cope with Sammy’s episodes, we were in crisis and the very limited support that we were finally awarded simply was not sufficient. We were operating at crisis point continually and things continued to escalate after Sammy was unable to attend school during the national lockdown. Every incident that Sammy had was life threatening and it was only my attempts to try to keep him safe, using all my energy and reserves, that nothing more serious happened before the 22 April. The authorities were aware of the risks but, in my view, did not take this seriously.
I truly believe that a failure to provide us with adequate support led to Sammy’s death. The Coroner has heard evidence of all I did to fight to get the bare minimum in place to keep Sammy safe and yet this was always rejected. I was always told the support I desperately needed for Sammy wasn’t available and I should ask elsewhere. Nobody was willing to help us.
Not only do I have to endure his loss but also the loss of his future too. Whilst he had a great many struggles due to his disability fitting into this world, his soul was gentle and resonated the deepest, most resounding love I have ever known. He brought joy and comfort to all who knew him, changed people’s lives for the better, he made my life multi-dimensional and multi-coloured. He made the world a much nicer place.