Ryan Sparks tributes: Friends plan fundraiser to honour Holyrood Academy student
The memory of a Chard teenager who died last week will be honoured by a fundraising event organised by his friends.
Ryan Sparks, a Year 11 pupil at Holyrood Academy, died after a severe asthma attack on Monday, October 8.
His friends are organising an event called Run and Ride for Ryan – a 7.5 mile cycle and run to raise money for the charity Asthma UK.
It takes place on Sunday, December 16 starting from the Phoenix Hotel on Fore Street at noon.
A fundraising website set up by Ryan’s friends, combined with other donations has already seen thousands of pounds raised.
Friend Hannah Pearce said: “This is being organised by parents and students. Anybody can come along on the day and cheer the riders on.
“We currently have about 40 riders taking part, who are people from the school and some members of Ryan’s family.
“Ryan was a special friend to many people and we want to make him proud with this.”
Holyrood head teacher Maurice Hicks said: “This is a very constructive thing being done by Ryan’s friends who are very upset by what has happened.
“The school held a special assembly for Year 11 on Friday in memory and celebration of Ryan. I spoke to the students as did the head of year. Students read poems and others spoke about Ryan.
“We then watched a presentation with music which had been made in Ryan’s memory. We also gave him a standing ovation.
“It was a very moving and powerful assembly, the students were fantastic. I have been very proud with how they coped with a difficult time and how they have conducted themselves.
“We are putting together a book of memories and messages and all students are welcome to contribute a page.
“We have closely liaised with Ryan’s family and they have identified close friends of Ryan’s from Holyrood to attend his funeral and represent the school. Ryan was a very popular student with many friends. He had a great sense of humour with a real talent for making people laugh. He will be greatly missed.”
Ryan’s memory was honoured with a minute’s silence when Chard Year 11s competed in a rugby game last week.
Tributes continue to pour in on social networking site Twitter. Teacher Jason Swarbrick said: “A very difficult day at school today. Made bearable by wonderful young men and women that make me proud to be their teacher.”
Another comment said: “Well done to everyone who read at Ryan’s remembrance assembly today, I have so much respect for you.”
The fundraising site is at www.justgiving.com/Hannah-Pearce97 .