Charity walkers will step out to honour the memory of a ‘truly beautiful, truly gentle, truly loved’ young man’.
Thomas Scotford inspired The Golden Miles which was launched by his mother Gillian in 2008 to raise money for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.
Gillian has vowed that this year’s walk will go ahead as a mark of respect to her son who died in February.
Thomas, who was born with DiGeorge Syndrome, had a heart defect, brain damage and couldn’t talk.
He was one of the first children to be cared for at Bluebell Wood and Gillian spent a decade as its ambassador.
Two months after his 21st birthday, Thomas stopped breathing following a fit and was put on life support at Chesterfield Royal Hospital for four days.
After life support was switched off, he was taken to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice with his mum and three paramedics.
Gillian, who lives in Dronfield, said: “The only thing I really wanted at the end of his life was that he would be in my arms and I would be able to protect him. I got into bed with him and wrapped him in my arms. We played Eva Cassidy’s Fields of Gold and before the end of the song he took his final breath.
“He looked so beautiful, so peaceful.”
Thomas was the middle boy of three and much loved by his dad Russell and brothers Max 23 and Sam, 18.
Gillian said: “Thomas was completely surrounded the whole of his life by the people who loved and cared for him.
“He had a difficult life but a life lived to the full because of the great care team around him.
“We always felt we were on borrowed time. We knew he would die one day because his episodes were so severe.
“Every experience we’ve had with him - his first ice cream, taking him to the Eiffel Tower, sitting on a donkey - were tinged with happiness and tears.
“From the moment Thomas was born, he inspired so many things.
“After he died there is this huge void, this huge sadness, but this huge pride in what he has achieved.
“He was truly beautiful, truly gentle, truly loved.”
Donations at Thomas’s funeral raised £1600, to be split between the hospice, funding swim sessions at Ashgate Croft School for Ability (the place where Thomas received respite) and fish and chips for Fairplay where he spent two days a week enjoying life on day trips.
Details of this year’s The Golden Miles on June 25 will be released shortly on www.goldenmiles.co.uk