Ipswich: Family of army cadet officer Royce Fosdike step up in his memory

ROYCE Fosdike was a young, independent, determined individual who was half way through his training to be an army officer when he was struck down with a tumour.

Two years later the young cadet officer sadly died at the age of 25, and tomorrow, just four weeks after his tragic death, his mother Suzanne, along with family and friends, is walking to raise money and awareness about the charity which cared for him in his final days.

At Christmas in 2009 Royce came home from his officer training course at Sandhurst, saying he was feeling unwell. Back at Sandhurst, doctors confirmed he had pneumonia, and sent him for further tests.

In February 2010 the family, who live in Valley Road and own the Poplar Fish Bar in Woodbridge Road, received the devastating diagnosis that Royce, then 23, had a rare tumour called Ewing’s Sarcoma in his chest. His parents, Suzanne and Mark, of Valley Road, Ipswich, said they all tried to stay upbeat about the news.

Suzanne said: “It was shocking but we were all very positive about it.

Mark added: “We always thought there was hope.”

Royce, the eldest of three, had an operation to remove the tumour and then underwent intensive chemotherapy treatment at The Royal Marsden Hospital. It seemed things were looking up and he returned to Sandhurst but then in April last year he had a routine CT scan which revealed there was another tumour. This time it was so close to his heart that medics could not operate as it was too risky, and so it was treated by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

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Suzanne said: “He was meant to start a drug trial on May 1 this year. He deteriorated quite quickly in the end. It was only in the last month he got bad.”

He spent his last ten days at St Elizabeth Hospice, where Suzanne said his care was second to none.

“They let me stay up with him, they let me bring the dogs up. They made it just like a home from home. They were all so friendly and had a lot of time for us as well as Royce.”

Royce sadly passed away on April 21 this year.

Around 300 people attended his full military funeral at St John the Baptist Church in Cauldwell Hall Road and �1,100 was raised in donations for the hospice. Special permission was granted so that his two Greyhound dogs, Twiggy and Apollo, could also attend.

Choking back the tears, Suzanne and Mark, also parents to Ben, 23, and Georgina, 21, said they would remember Royce as “amazing”.

Mark added: “We always thought we would beat it.

“We were so busy when he passed away – organising things and getting everything right. This week seems an empty week. It is the last thing you expect – to bury your own child.”