Wirksworth: Friends join together in memory of Joe

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Friends of a teenage boy who died suddenly have joined together in his memory to raise money for a cause close to his heart.

Fifteen–year–old Joe Southam, pictured, died on July 31 after being found in a critical condition at his home in Canterbury Terrace, Wirksworth.

Now two of his best friends, Jon Ashton and Sarah Glover, have organised a sponsored walk to raise money for the RSPCA in his memory. They and eight more of Joe’s friends will be doing the Dovedale Dipper this weekend.

Jon, 15, said: “I’ve known Joe since year seven when we went to Anthony Gell School together and we became close.

“He has an answer for everything and he was really smart – he knew everything about everything pretty much.

“He was one of the best students at Anthony Gell.”

Jon, who lives in Cromford, said his friend particularly enjoyed science and wanted to be a doctor when he was older.

The teenager even completed a couple of his GCSEs early, and was one of a specially selected group of students from the school to get to go on a trip to the space station in Russia.

Jon said Joe was one of his best friends and the two enjoyed weight lifting together.

“He was a shock to hear he had died and I still don’t really understand it,” he continued.

“I can’t comprehend it really.

“He liked animals and I just thought we could try and make something good out of this terrible situation.”

Jon and his fellow walkers will be setting off on the 26–mile Dovedale Dipper on Saturday, stopping half way to camp overnight, before completing it the following day.

The walkers have managed to raise more than £1,000 for the charity and have a target of £1,500.

To donate, visit their Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/In-Memory-Of-Joe

The cause of Joe’s death is still being investigated by a coroner.

In a statement released by Anthony Gell School, head teacher David Baker described Joe as being an ‘outstandingly talented student’.

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