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Today we celebrate the life of Alex Williams, the Trust's first Young Ambassador. And what a life we have to celebrate!
Alex, you packed so much into your 18 short years. You leave such a legacy of affection, with all those you met and even those you didn't! You were kind, caring, loving, determined and inspirational (a word you may never have used about yourself, but we can assure you everyone else does).
You were also fun, cheeky and full of life, with a fantastic sense of humour. People had to meet you only once and they were hooked. You asked and they said yes. A favourite moment of ours at the Trust was after you won the News of the World’s Children’s Champion award and met David Cameron. Twenty minutes later no Prime Minister has ever been better briefed on meningitis, what should be done about it and educated on the signs and symptoms of the disease.
Your enthusiasm and energy are legendary at the Trust. Despite everything meningitis threw at you, you considered yourself to be lucky. Adapting to life as a wheelchair user you did not see your disability as a barrier. "There is no way I’m going to let anyone go through what I did and feel it’s the end … it’s only the beginning, believe me." You were determined to show parents just what their children could achieve.
Recounting your experience of carrying the Olympic Torch to local schoolchildren you said: "I’ve really enjoyed sharing my motto of 'believe and achieve.' I hope that all the pupils will remember this and make it their own as they carry on through life."
We know you'd always rise to the challenge Alex. So, we have decided, with your mum and dad, Alison and Wayne, and your sister Abbie, that we are going to launch the 'Alex Williams "Believe and Achieve" appeal.'
This will aim to raise £1 million over the next five years, in line with our five year plan, Vision 2016, to help support our work with young people in your memory. And when we say 'our' work Alex, the 'our' means you as well.
It is appropriate that bright colours and happy memories are the order of the day at today’s celebration. While there will also be tears we at the Trust want you to know Alex that you will continue to inspire all of us, and we will drive forward, with you always in our hearts and always at the heart of everything we do. Thank you for everything you have done and what we will continue to do in your name.
As ever, we will 'believe and achieve.'
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