Pupils hold memorial service for teen who died after being swept out to sea
A WIRRAL school held a memorial service for a pupil who died after being swept out to sea on a fishing holiday.
Students at University Academy Birkenhead organised the event to celebrate the life of Sam Capper.
The 15-year-old died after falling into the sea when a five-foot wave hit him in Llangennith, Swansea, where he had been on a family camping holiday in August.
The Tranmere teenager drowned despite the valiant attempts of his older brother, Lewis, 21, a Royal Navy serviceman who jumped in to try and save his life.
The idea for a pupil-led service came from Sam’s mum Leah Hunt who said she wanted his friends to be able to say farewell to the teenager in their own way.
Paula Gidman, Sam’s former head of year, allowed his close friends to take the lead in planning the service.
The Year 11 pupils yesterday performed a number of songs and readings.
They also laid flowers by a plaque in Sam’s memory, which has been placed in the school garden.
Instead of a minute’s silence, it was decided to hold a minute of applause to represent his personality.
Miss Gidman said: “They didn’t want to have a minute’s silence for him because that wasn’t him.
“He was an absolute chatterbox and he was always talking.
“They didn’t want anything that represented a funeral.
“They all wanted to put down white flowers, so they carried 15 flowers out of the school hall and put them in the memorial garden for Sam. They wanted something that wouldn’t look out of place, they wanted something fitting.”
During the service pupils sang two songs for Sam, while some of his friends delivered a reading entitled “Thoughts on Sam”.
During the performances, a selection of the pupils’ photographs of Sam were displayed.
Miss Gidman added: “It was led by the students; it was what the students wanted, which is fundamentally what his mum wanted."
Sam, a former pupil of Rock Ferry primary school and Rock Ferry High – one of the Academy’s predecessor secondaries – was known as a good all-rounder and tipped by his teachers to achieve success in his GCSE exams.
He was also an able sportsman who loved playing hockey and football.
His mum had previously paid her own tribute saying: “Sam, who most people knew as Spud, was a unique, amazing, boy who touched the lives of so many people.”