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Mum's poignant tribute to fire victim

PUBLISHED: 11:55 04 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:29 03 March 2010

THE mother of Rob Giles, right, one of the two teenagers who died in a fire in Felixstowe, has paid a moving tribute to her son who she described as her "pride and joy".

By JO MACDONALD

Jo.macdonald@ecng.co.uk

THE mother of Rob Giles, one of the two teenagers who died in a fire in Felixstowe, paid a moving tribute to her son who she described as her "pride and joy".

Maggie Giles said she was "consumed by grief" at losing her son in a fire in Holland Road but of taking comfort from the messages and tributes that have been left on the website of Boot50, the band with which he was guitarist.

Rob and his friend Will Stokes, 19, died in the blaze which broke out early last Wednesday in the room they rented on the second floor of the house close to the seafront.

She said: "Obviously I am consumed with grief for the loss of Robert, who was my pride and joy.

"The things that are helping me most at the moment are sharing my own and other people's memories of him and looking frequently at the Boot50 website and reading the tributes to him - the number of people who have remembered him and the warmth and respect expressed in these tributes have been truly overwhelming."

She spoke with tenderness about her son, who she admitted caused her the same worries that any teenager causes their parents, and with admiration at his ability to joke about his failures and always remain happy.

Mrs Giles, a former Head of Music at Farlingaye High School where Rob was a student, said she would always cherish the passion for music which they shared.

"What can I say about Rob?" Mrs Giles said. "I recognise of course all the very special qualities in him that other people have mentioned: his easy-going and happy nature and his sense of humour manifested themselves from a very early age, and his musicianship created a bond between us which will always mean a great deal to me.

"I don't want to eulogise about Rob - he cause me all the normal anxieties and exasperation that teenagers put their parents through and could be frustratingly stubborn at times.

"Being his teacher for a period as well as his mother wasn't easy, as you can imagine. I was in frequent receipt of letters informing me of his misdemeanours at school.

"Nevertheless, he - along with the rest of us - could always laugh about his failures and disasters and I truly loved and valued his company and was proud to see his growing maturity and readiness to embark on independent adult life in the weeks before I left for Tanzania."

Mrs Giles will miss her son desperately but finds comfort in knowing that his life was cut short at a time when he was at his happiest.

"He loved being 18," she added, "and now he will always be 18."

Mrs Giles flew back from Tanzania, where she was starting a new life in teaching, last week following the death of her son and his friend, Will. The pair lived together in the house for only two weeks.

Rob's funeral is being held at Coddenham Church at 2.30pm on Friday. His Boot50 bandmates are set to pay a special musical tribute to him at the service.

Mrs Giles said: "I hope that we will be able to make the occasion a true reflection of Rob's life and especially his music.

"I hope that as many as possible of Rob's friends and people who knew and loved him will be there."

nRead the tributes to Rob Giles and Will Stokes or leave your own by visiting www.boot50.com

nA memorial fund has been set up for Rob and Will. Donations can be made to Geraldine Thompson, Editor's Secretary, Fire Appeal, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN. Cheques should be made payable to The Evening Star Fire Appeal. The money will be placed in a special account for the fund.

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