Sam WatersA SPECIAL fund to help children in the Devizes area is to be set up in memory of ten-year-old Sam Waters who died on Friday of brain cancer.

Sam, a pupil at Wansdyke Primary School in Devizes, lost his brave battle against cancer three years after apparently having defeated leukaemia.

His distraught parents, Howard and Susi Waters of Wick Lane, Devizes, said that Sam retained his good manners and dignity right up to the end.

Mrs Waters said: "Our family just couldn't believe how he conducted himself. It was "please" and "thank you" right up to his last gasp."

At school, too, Sam's good nature and unfailing cheeriness won him many friends.

His head teacher, Jim Smith, said: "He really was the most wonderful child.

"I know people say that of children who die, but he was an incredible boy. He is going to be missed very badly indeed."

Sam was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was three years old and underwent treatment at Bristol Children's Hospital, enduring two years of chemotherapy before a bone marrow transplant seemed to cure him of the disease.

Mrs Waters said: "Six months after the transplant he was fine. He went back to school and he was getting on really well."

Mr Waters added: "In the last year he came on in leaps and bounds. He had a lot of catching up to do with his schoolwork, but he was determined to do his very best."

Then, in June this year, Sam fell ill again. Doctors diagnosed an astrocytoma, a particularly aggressive form of brain tumour.

Within ten days of diagnosis he was operated on at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, but, although surgeons managed to partially remove the tumour, they found that the cancer had spread.

Mrs Waters said: "The doctors told us he only had two or three days to live but he lasted six weeks.

"That is some indication of what a strong, determined little boy he was. He had real fighting spirit."

Though Sam had lost the use of his right side, he was allowed home and was able to take full part in his brother Matthew's first birthday party on July 28. That night he fell seriously ill and his deterioration continued until he lost his battle at 8am last Friday morning.

His funeral is due to take place today at St James Church, Southbroom, and he is to be buried in Devizes Cemetery.

His grieving parents are already planning to commemorate him in the most constructive way possible.

The Sam Waters Memorial Fund will raise money for local children's charities and good causes.

Mrs Waters said: "The Gazette recently highlighted the case of another Sam, Sam Taylor, who suffers with autism. That is exactly the kind of case we would want the fund to help."

Initially, until Mr and Mrs Waters can start reorganising their lives, donations to the fund can be made through funeral director John Stuart or at the Devizes office of the Gazette and Herald.

The couple are also keen to inaugurate a special award in Sam's name at Wansdyke School. Mrs Waters said: "We would like the school to choose a pupil who has achieved something remarkable against all odds, either educationally, socially or emotionally.

"Sam was an amazing child. Of course, we would say that as his parents, but if you only met him for ten minutes, you would never forget him. He was just that kind of child.

"Although Matthew is too young to understand what has happened, he misses Sam desperately.

"He keeps running into his brother's room and can't understand why he isn't there."

Although not keen on sport, Sam threw himself into his hobbies, particularly his Hornby train set, and, unsurprisingly for his medical history, he was fascinated by ambulances and paramedics.

He customised his bicycle with paramedic stickers and a friend recently bought him a siren to fit onto the bike.

He was very creative with his hands, and loved playing with Lego construction toys, drawing and painting.

His favourite TV programme was The Simpsons and Mr and Mrs Waters have plans to inscribe Bart Simpson's favourite quotation, "Live Fast, Ride Hard" onto his headstone.