Hundreds pay last respects to brave Tom

HUNDREDS of mourners gathered in the Felixstowe sunshine on Saturday morning to celebrate the life of a “truly inspirational” teenager.

Lizzie Parry

HUNDREDS of mourners gathered in the Felixstowe sunshine on Saturday morning to celebrate the life of a “truly inspirational” teenager.

Friends and family of Tom Roden packed the Salvation Army Centre on Cobbold Street to remember the 19-year-old, who lost his battle with cancer on Friday, May 1.

Fellow scouts, school friends from St Joesph's College, former teachers, dignitaries from the Scouting movement, councillors, and Felixstowe Mayor, Mike Deacon attended the service.

The brave teenager had been determined to overcome the disease and took his place at university last autumn but despite having beaten it once it returned.

Tom was a Queen's Scout and was awarded the Chief Scout's Award for Meritorious Conduct for his 13 years service to the Scout movement, and the Felixstowe HMS Ganges Youth Trophy for his outstanding community work.

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Just days before he died, he carried the St George's Flag at Felixstowe's Saint's Day parade.

Debby Hatcher, 8th Felixstowe Scout leader said the service was “brilliant” honouring “a really great guy.”

“The church was completely packed,” she said. “It was a lovely service with the Osprey Explorer Scouts providing the guard of honour.

“He was very well respected and very well loved by the scouts and all those that knew him, he was the best.”

Paying tribute on behalf of the Scout movement at his funeral, Rob Rushen-Smith, group Scout leader, recognised Tom's 13 years service from Beaver to being a warranted scout leader.

He said: “Tom was no ordinary person - he was quite simply extra ordinary.

“He was a dear friend and brother to everyone he came in contact with.

“As he bravely fought against cancer, he became a truly inspirational figure within the movement as a whole.

“He lived a 'fast track life' but seemed to fulfil most, if not all, of his Scout ambitions.

“He was always smiling and approachable even to the youngest member - yet strong and reliable.”

- Would you like to pay tribute to Tom? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Panel - Tom's Story:-

It was in May 2007 that Tom, who lived with his mum and dad Julie and Andre and his younger brother Alfie, 17, at Valley Walk, received the devastating news he had been diagnosed with cancer of the spine.

His treatment began immediately with chemotherapy and radiotherapy at University College Hospital, London, followed by two operations to remove the growth from his spine at Stanmore Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.

Early last year he got the all clear and started at the University of East Anglia to study accountancy and finance in the autumn.

But after a fun Fresher's Week, Tom was at his first lecture of the term when he experienced pains in his chest and shoulder.

An X-ray revealed the cancer had returned in his right lung.