THE FATHER of a teenage boy who died suddenly after collapsing while playing football with his friends last year said he is "honoured" after his son's schoolmates rallied round to raise over £1000 to help prevent the tragedy happening to others.
As the anniversary of Nathan Foley’s death approaches, members of Great Marlow School’s Interact charity club organised a series of events to pull in over £2000 for their two nominated charities.
The charitable group - a youth arm of the Rotary Club - chose Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) to benefit from the cash after the school was rocked by Nathan’s sudden death at school just weeks before his 18th birthday.
Nathan's Father James Foley said: "It’s obviously personal to me so I’m very touched that pupils would take it upon themselves to do such a worthy thing.
"Because my family has been affected by this (sudden death), we see it more and more. The awareness element of what the pupils have done is a fantastic thing.
"It’s a difficult process to follow and get through when you lose someone quickly and without warning. I have found it very, very hard and I’m really grateful that the school has been so supportive for the pupils, for my son and myself. I’m honoured they would think about Nate like this."
As well as holding numerous bake sales, fundraising Interact pupils organised a successful quiz night in February to bring in the cash.
On Tuesday, pupils handed over a cheque for the CRY charity, which raises awareness of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) in young people.
The other half of the money, which was matched in full by the Marlow Thames Rotary Club, went to children’s charity the Make a Wish Foundation.
Student Interact president Aishling Hageman-Rowe said: "Nathan died nearly a year ago now, and his family and friends have been a very big presence in the school.
"It’s touched the lives of everyone, including the members in our group, so it seemed like the perfect cause.
"It was a real eye opener and the fact that it happened here is shocking and moving. Everyone who knew him wanted to help. We have had lots of contact with his father and he’s a really great guy."
Nathan was playing football with friends on the Bobmore Lane school’s playing fields when he collapsed suddenly on May 17 last year.
The otherwise healthy teenager, who had no known medical conditions, was airlifted to hospital but could not be saved.
Nathan’s friends and family packed into All Saints Church for his funeral and wore football shirts as a tribute to the keen sportsman and Arsenal fan.
Head of sixth form Owen Hollyman paid tribute to the hard work and dedication of the pupils in organising the fundraising drive.
He said: "The whole community was affected by Nathan’s death. It was just before exam time and has a massive effect on the students.
"They responded so well and resolved to everything they could to raise money. That’s when the Interact group came into sharper focus and pulled out all the stops.
"They have done all sorts and it has been all their own work, meeting each week and driving it forward.
"I took a back seat and left it all to them and left it all to them and it’s testament to all their hard work. This is also something they can use to grow as people and the sort of organisation and team work you can’t get with exams."