Loving tributes to gifted 21-year-old

A GIFTED pupil who dreamed of a glittering career in the medical profession has lost his courageous battle with cancer.Glowing tributes were last night paid to keen musician Lee Dunford, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease while studying for his A Levels.

A GIFTED pupil who dreamed of a glittering career in the medical profession has lost his courageous battle with cancer.

Glowing tributes were last night paid to keen musician Lee Dunford, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease while studying for his A Levels.

His brave fight against cancer saw him undergo two stem cell transplants using material from an unknown donor and also from himself.

His grieving parents, Rob and Rosie, last night spoke warmly of the 21-year-old and praised medical staff and his close-knit group of friends, who supported him before his death on Sunday .

“Lee was a positive, loving, optimistic young man who was brave until the end,” the family said in a statement.

“He was loved by many for his amazing personality, a wicked sense of humour and he was a very loyal friend, brother and son who had so much love to give.

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“We would now like to pass on how very special Lee's buddies were; they supported him throughout his illness and were a great source of comfort and help to both Lee and his family.

“We would also like to thank all the nurses and doctors who came into contact with Lee, many of whom have become good friends.

“They are truly devoted to their job and could not have done any more for him - they were absolutely fantastic.”

Mr Dunford's close family said he had hoped to enter the medical profession after achieving 13 A to C GCSE grades - making him one of the top performing pupils at Sudbury Upper School.

But he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease while studying for his A Levels in 2002. He was treated at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, and Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, undertaking various treatments.

He was a passionate musician, playing bass guitar in Postillionage , a band made up of his close friends.

The group became well known around the Suffolk and Essex music circuit, recording their own CD, Did You Ever, in conjunction with the Willow Foundation - a charity set up to improve the quality of life for seriously ill young adults.

He also won awards playing for local football teams in Acton and Long Melford and was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of watching his beloved Manchester United thanks to a kind donation from a friend.

A spokesman for the family said: “Lee recently achieved another ambition - persuading his father to buy a dog, a chocolate Labrador dog, Roxy.

“We only got him six weeks ago and I think Lee wanted us to have something which would keep us going - she will now become the symbol of his love and devotion to his family.

“He was a much loved son and brother to Lloyd and Simon who will be dearly missed and never forgotten.”

Mr Dunford passed away peacefully on Sunday with his mum and dad by his side. His funeral will take place at West Suffolk Crematorium, Bury St Edmunds, on Wednesday at 10.30am.

A gathering will then take place at Easterns Nightclub, Sudbury, and a collection held for the Leukemia Research Fund.

dave.gooderham@eadt.co.uk

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