Melton memorial bench is special place for William’s family and friends

The William Billingsley memorial bench at Melton's Thorpe Road cemetery being sat on by his brother Finlay and parents, Karen Dack and Andrew Billingsley EMN-190321-171802001
The William Billingsley memorial bench at Melton's Thorpe Road cemetery being sat on by his brother Finlay and parents, Karen Dack and Andrew Billingsley EMN-190321-171802001
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The family of a 12-year-old Melton boy who passed away last summer now have a special memorial bench they can use to sit and share memories of him.

The seat, dedicated to William Billingsley, has been installed in the children’s area of the town’s Thorpe Road cemetery, where is buried.

To launch the William Billingsley memorial bench, balloons are let off by his family members and representatives of John Ferneley College, which he attended EMN-190326-135304001

To launch the William Billingsley memorial bench, balloons are let off by his family members and representatives of John Ferneley College, which he attended EMN-190326-135304001

Family members and friends gathered with pupils and staff from John Ferneley College, where William attended when he was well enough during his cancer treatment, gathered to unveil the bench.

They released a swarm of balloons, in the blue and white colours of his favourite football team Tottenham Hotspur, as a tribute to him.

The event followed seven months after Williams lost his brave 14-month battle with his illness, which began when a tumour was diagnosed in his back and led to him being confined to a wheelchair.

His mum, Karen Dack, told the Melton Times: “It was lovely to have everyone together at William’s new bench.

The William Billingsley memorial bench is unveiled at Melton's Thorpe Road cemetery EMN-190326-135253001

The William Billingsley memorial bench is unveiled at Melton's Thorpe Road cemetery EMN-190326-135253001

“We’ve been there lots of times already to sit and remember him.”

The bench was paid for from a raffle and cake sale.

His beloved eight-year-old brother, Finlay, enjoys sitting on the seat and the family also take William’s baby sister, Fleur, who he named before he passed away.

The family is still coming to terms with William’s loss.

Melton boy William Billingsley, who passed away in August 2018, is pictured being presented with a special advent calendar by staff at the town's Poundland store just before the previous Christmas EMN-190326-135355001

Melton boy William Billingsley, who passed away in August 2018, is pictured being presented with a special advent calendar by staff at the town's Poundland store just before the previous Christmas EMN-190326-135355001

Friends and local traders organised a series of fundraising activities to raise thousands of pounds to help make him happy in his final months.

People worked together to level the back garden of his home so he could get his wheelchair outdoors and regulars at The Grapes pub had their heads shaved to raise £1,000 for him. A charity football night at Asfordby generated £3,000 and staff at Melton’s Poundland store created a special advent calendar.

He also got the chance to watch his Spurs heroes in a match from an executive box and was thrilled when star player, Dele Alli, sent him a video message of support.

A former pupil at Melton’s Brownlow Primary School, William’s devastating diagnosis was given to his family in May 2017 after he initially complained of having a stiff neck after being a normal energetic young boy.

Surgeons couldn’t remove his tumour because of its delicate location and he passed away with with family members by his side last August.

The family will gather again at the cemetery this summer for another special occasion.

Karen added: “We have ordered William’s headstone and we would like to have it in place on his grave in time for July when his birthday would have been.”