Tributes to brave Jack, 12

DEVASTATED parents of a 12-year-old boy last night paid tribute to their “angel on earth”, who has died following a long battle against cancer.Brave Jack Wilkinson, of Fairfield Avenue, Felixstowe, was first diagnosed with a rare form of the disease when he was just two and spent much of his life in and out of hospital.

DEVASTATED parents of a 12-year-old boy last night paid tribute to their “angel on earth”, who has died following a long battle against cancer.

Brave Jack Wilkinson, of Fairfield Avenue, Felixstowe, was first diagnosed with a rare form of the disease when he was just two and spent much of his life in and out of hospital.

But despite his illness, the former Colneis Junior School pupil managed to live life to the full and enjoyed a variety of passions.

Yesterday his parents, Caz and Karl, still coming to terms with their loss, spoke of a young boy who was loved by everyone.


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Mrs Wilkinson said: “Jack was such a happy boy. Lots of people have said in their tributes to him they will always remember him with a big smile on his face and have referred to him as our angel on earth. Now he has gone back to the angels and is looking down on us.

“All I can say is that I feel glad he is not suffering anymore. I miss him so much. I hurt so much because I miss him being around. I know he has been ill but he has always been there.

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“He will be missed but I wouldn't want him to suffer any more. He has suffered more in his 12 years than a lot of people will ever have to suffer.”

The family moved to Felixstowe from Wiltshire in 1997 and, for the next eight years, everything seemed fine as Jack's disease went into remission.

But in April 2005 the family were hit with the bombshell that the rare form of bladder cancer had returned.

Scores of tests and trips to hospitals followed and then, four months ago, the family were given the news they had dreaded, after being called to the hospital for a follow-up scan.

Mrs Wilkinson said: “I just thought it was a formality. Jack didn't want to go but I said we had to.

“Then, at about 11am the next morning, I had a call to say we had to go to the hospital.

“I knew it was bad but didn't quite realise how bad. Karl was working away but he had to come back. Jack knew by the fact his Dad had to be there that something was wrong.”

Mr and Mrs Wilkinson were taken aside and told Jack had just weeks to live.

“I said 'this can't be it. He's 12 years old - he hasn't had a life,” said Mrs Wilkinson.

“They told us that if we wanted to do anything with him, like have a holiday, to do it sooner rather than later. The consultant said it was weeks rather than months.”

The family decided to go on holiday to Yorkshire and were determined they would look after Jack right to the end.

“Jack could've gone into a hospice but we felt he had had enough of nurses and doctors,” said Mrs Wilkinson.

“We just felt we wanted to look after him ourselves, in his own room, with his own things around him. He was brave throughout his treatment and we had to be the same. He didn't know he was going to die. If he did, he never said anything. If he had asked us the question, we would have been honest with him because the trust between us was so important.”

A keen fencer, Jack's ambition was to compete in the 2012 Olympics. He also enjoyed drawing cartoons and came up with his own fictional superhero - one that would help others just like he tried to.

He also raised money for charity from a variety of activities, including abseiling down Ipswich Hospital's maternity block. He loved wildlife and particularly enjoyed programmes by David Attenborough and Bill Oddie.

Jack, who had two brothers, Daniel 21, and Karl, 24, excelled at school and his former Headteacher at Colneis gave him a commendation before he left, which read: “Jack excelled in all subjects, especially humanity”.

Mr Wilkinson wished to thank everyone who had supported the family in the days since Jack's death, on Friday. He also wanted to thank doctors and nurses at Addenbrooke's Hospital and Ipswich Hospital, especially the paediatric and oncology nurses, Macmillan Cancer Support, CLIC Sargent, the Darren Wright Trust, the Brendan Oakes Trust and the East Anglian Children's Hospices (EACH).

His funeral will take place at St Mary's Church, Walton at 2pm on Monday. Any donations should be made to EACH or CLIC Sargent through the Co-op Funeral Service.

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