Merseyside school pays tribute to Sam

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15-year-old Sam was an avid football fan

A Merseyside school has paid an emotional tribute during a memorial service for pupil Sam Capper, who died after being swept out to sea.

The 15-year-old drowned 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 idea for a pupil-led service at University Academy Birkenhead 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 performed a number of songs and a reading entitled ‘Thoughts on Sam’.

Instead of a minute’s silence, it was decided to hold a minute of applause to represent his personality, Miss Gidman told JMU Journalism: “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.”

Students at UAB Birkenhead pay tribute to Sam © Trinity Mirror

During the service pupils sang two songs for Sam, and photographs of Sam were displayed during the performances.

Miss Gidman added: “It was led by the students; it was what the students wanted, which is fundamentally what his mum wanted.”

Sam was a former pupil of Rock Ferry High School, which was joined with Park High in order to form the new University Academy Birkenhead.

Sam’s mum had previously paid her own tribute, telling the Liverpool Echo: “Sam, who most people knew as Spud, was a unique, amazing, boy who touched the lives of so many people.”

About Josh Parry, JMU Journalism