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Dad pays tribute to brave Kaylen O'Connor after eight-year-old loses fight against brain tumour

PUBLISHED: 09:44 23 March 2015 | UPDATED: 09:54 23 March 2015

Kaylen O'Connor with his dad Derek O'Connor.

Kaylen O'Connor with his dad Derek O'Connor.

A caring father has paid an emotional tribute to his eight-year-old son who peacefully died at home surrounded by his loving family.

Kaylen O'Connor.Kaylen O'Connor.

Brave Kaylen O’Connor, described as a “local celebrity” by his dad Derek O’Connor, never let the brain tumour he was diagnosed with three years ago diminish his shining spirit.

He was left blind and suffered from a number of problems after the eight-and-a-half hour operation to remove part of the tumour.

The Whitton Community Primary School student amazed teachers and his family with his endlessly positive attitude. But the tumour spread to other parts of his brain recently and he sadly died in a hospice bed at his home in Shakespeare Road last Tuesday night.

Derek, 65, who has slept beside Kaylen on a settee for the last two years, said: “I always wanted him to pass away here because he was born right here. If there’s any essence of him left, I just wanted him to remain here

“He was so close to me. He would say to me ‘I am not just like you, I am you. We are the same person’. It was so touching. I’m gutted I won’t be able to cuddle him again. He has left a big hole.

“But he never complained He never said ‘why can’t I see dad?’ He just accepted it, and he was always telling jokes. He had so much of a following in the community. That’s why he is at home so people can come here because he’s not just a child of mine, although he is my special little child, he is a child of the community.

“He is going to be so missed. All the people in the shops loved him. He had a Co-op woman in tears because he said he loved her with all his heart and soul.”

Derek has now lost two sons in the last two years. Javiel O’Connor, 22, died in a single-vehicle motorbike crash on the A14 at Sproughton in June 2013.

Derek said: “It has been nothing but grief. It has been one long, really hard road.”

Candi Knock, 42, Kaylen’s sister, said: “I was right beside Kaylen when he died. It was really sad. My dad has been amazing. Everyone thinks the world of him.”

Richard Dedicoat, headteacher of Whitton Community Primary School, said: “Kaylen was full of fun. He always made people smile.” Kaylen also leaves behind his older siblings Cody, 10, and Thaine, 12.

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