Family's shock over teenager's death

IT seemed like the end of any other day when teenager James Long said goodnight to his parents and went to bed.

IT seemed like the end of any other day when teenager James Long said goodnight to his parents and went to bed.

But that same night, the 19-year-old was rushed to hospital after collapsing in his room - and just hours later he was dead.

An undiagnosed brain tumour had killed him and left his family from Lancing Avenue, Ipswich, devastated.

Today, through their shock, his family has spoken of their grief over the death of the former Northgate High School pupil who had seemed happy and healthy.

His mum, Sarah Long, 45, said: “It is just so unfair, we are in disbelief. It came out of the blue and was a total shock.”

His dad, Stephen Long, 49, added: “I am in limbo at the moment and I do not know which way to turn or how to feel or how to think.

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“I get mood swings and things suddenly come and hit me. I just think of the future that we would have had together and the things that we planned to do together.”

They also paid tribute to talented photographer, James, who was in his third year studying art and design at Suffolk New College.

He was hoping to start a photography course at University Campus Suffolk in September. Since Christmas, four of his pictures had been published in the Evening Star, for which James was incredibly proud.

Mrs Long said: “He was so much looking forward to going to university.

“I think he thought at school that he would never achieve that and to be told that he was good enough to go and do photography, he was thrilled.”

James, who also leaves sister Jemma, 23 and his 15-year-old brother Alex, was an avid fan and season ticket holder for Ipswich Witches Speedway team and had been a member of St John Ambulance since he was ten-years-old.

He regularly performed public duties with them.

Mrs Long added: “He never went out and got drunk and he did not want to cause problems anywhere.

“He was a quiet and polite boy. But he was also a practical joker, he used to play jokes with his sister and he was devoted to his younger brother.

“Everything is just too quiet and tidy in the house. He made us laugh and he was kind and caring. It doesn't hit you until you get back to some kind of normality and you realise that it is a different kind of normal.”

- On Monday, more than 150 people attended James' funeral at Ipswich Crematorium. St John Ambulance - which James was a member of - held a guard of honour. The family have received more than 115 cards and flowers from members of the community.

Mrs Long said: “I would just like to thank everybody who has given us so much support over the last couple of weeks because it has been overwhelming. James was obviously very well thought off.”


Mrs Long was sitting in the lounge of her home in Lancing Avenue, Ipswich on Monday February 23 when she went upstairs after hearing a thud and saw James' door had shut.

She said: “I tried to open the door and he had fallen over behind the door and was being sick.

“I called Jemma [James' sister] and my husband and managed to climb into the room. He was fitting slightly but he could just about communicate.”

After being seen by doctors at Ipswich Hospital, James was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. But shortly after arriving there he died of a brain haemorrhage caused by a large tumour.

Mrs Long, a nurse at Ipswich Hospital. “He had been at home all day with me, quite happy and normal. He had not said that he was unwell.”

James had not showed any serious signs of illness, apart from suffering headaches in December and January, which, after his GP had checked him thoroughly, was put down to a virus.

Mr Long, an engineer with British Gas, said: “We had heard of other people who we knew with similar symptoms. There was nothing to indicate that he was ill.”