Brilliant lad who shone

30th July 2004 at 01:00
As school bully Alan Pennell begins his sentence, Helen Ward reports on how the school has coped with the tragedy Luke Walmsley was popular, bright and sporty - a "boy who shone", in the words of his headteacher Gary Loveridge.

The 14-year-old, who wanted to become a policeman, lived in Cleethorpes with Jayne Walmsley, his mother, Mark Rowbotham, his stepfather, and Lauren, his younger sister. He was also close to his father, Paul.

Luke was a member of Grimsby judo club, played football for North Somercotes under-15s and, said Eric Blackman, the president of the England Rugby Football Schools Union, was "an up-and coming star performer of rugby".

The sports-mad teenager had also tried his hand at other activities including paintballing, scuba- diving, climbing and sailing.

Luke's attitude to life was captured in an English essay, read out at his funeral by his father. "Things that make life worth living are girls, especially fit ones. There are also other things, like having fun, enjoying yourself and being happy. Things like that make life worth living. You only get to live once, so you might as well enjoy life," he wrote.

Messages of condolence on the school's website at the time of his death described Luke as "a brilliant lad", "kind, caring and cheeky" and "one of the nicest lads I had ever met".

One said: "Luke, I can't believe you're gone. It doesn't seem real. I'll never forget you and I'm glad it was me you picked to joke to as we walked out the lab, I never knew it would be the last one. You will always be missed. I'll always remember the funny times we had."

This week, Mrs Walmsley called for CCTV in schools and said Lauren will continue to attend Birkbeck school, where she is surrounded by friends.

She said: "We know what happened to Luke happened because he did stand up to those bullies. Some children even take their own lives because they are being bullied, but Luke was killed because he dared to stand up to the bullies in his school."

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