Funeral held of drowned teenager

By Richard SmithA MOTHER whose teenage son drowned after a late-night beach party has appealed to parents to be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing up their children.

By Richard Smith

A MOTHER whose teenage son drowned after a late-night beach party has appealed to parents to be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing up their children.

Geraldine Unwin-Rose told hundreds of mourners yesterday that everyone could learn lessons from the death of Rory, 15, a pupil at Woodbridge School.

Mrs Unwin-Rose said her generation of parents had ruled with an iron rod, but today's mothers and fathers had a difficult job in finding a balance, adding: “Having fun can be a serious business.”

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She thanked all Rory's friends and partygoers who had made a public appeal for help in finding the teenager after he wandered off in the early hours of the morning during a summer party.

Rory, from Cretingham, near Woodbridge, died on August 7. He was last seen walking towards the River Blyth after attending a party at Walberswick with some of his closest friends.

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His body was discovered in the river on August 10 after he had drowned and an inquest into his death will be held on October 3.

His funeral was held yesterday at St Mary's Church, Woodbridge, and many of the congregation brought sunflowers along, the seeds from which will be collected and sown as a memorial.

The Rev Clare Sanders, the rector at St Peter's Church, Cretingham, said people were coping with a “maelstrom of emotions” and some would be remorseful that they could not have prevented his death.

The hour-long service was a celebration of Rory's life and his family recounted some of his youthful misdeeds, adventures and triumphs.

Rory was a star on the sports field and his talents could have reached greater heights, but for an accident on holiday in 1996 when he ran into a patio door. He suffered deep lacerations to his legs and Rory described himself then as being “disfigured”.

The teenager was a strong swimmer and excelled on the athletics field, where he won running races and was twice the Victor Ludorum holder. He was also an accomplished rugby player and had trials with the county.

Rory's dream was to follow in the footsteps of a relative who captained the Irish rugby team and he wanted to apply for an Irish passport and play for the country.

Mrs Unwin-Rose said her son avoided some of his studies, but he had attributes which would not be recognised at Speech Day, an event that Rory hated.

“He had skills and talents that no school hands out prizes for. He had care and concern for his friends and he will be forever 15,” she added.

Rory's father, Phil, said: ''He left his mark on various schools - just think what he might have achieved if his legs had not been so badly hurt.”

Angus, the 10-year-old brother of Rory, lit the teenager's baptism candle during the hymn, The Lord's My Shepherd, which was also sung at his baptism.

Mourners included friends from Rory's childhood days in Wimbledon and former pupils of Aberdour prep school in Epsom, which he attended before coming to Woodbridge School in 2000.

Rory's latest hobby was windsurfing and a picture of him tackling waves illustrated the front of the order of service.

Underneath was written were the words: “I never wanted to go to Speech Day anyway.”

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