Heartfelt tributes have been paid to a 12-year-old Burnham-On-Sea youngster who has passed away after a brave battle with cancer.
Joe Laoutaris has died following a two-year fight against Ewings Sarcoma cancer.
Joe, a student at King Alfred School in Highbridge, was recognised at the 2014 Pride of Somerset Youth Awards for his bravery.
A spokesman for King Alfred School said this week: “This very sad news is difficult for us all to hear. Our school feel Joe’s loss – he was such a bright and positive young man who was very brave throughout his illness. As a school we will look after each other and work with Joe’s family to celebrate his life and their wishes.”
The youngster was also a very popular and greatly respected member of Berrow’s Fei Lung Kwan Kung Fu Class, where tributes have been paid this week.
“Joe was an exceptional and highly talented student that loved his kung fu with an ambition of one day becoming a Kung Fu Master himself,” said Patrick Barber, leader of the group.
“Joe trained all through his illness and was even known to be doing his techniques whilst receiving chemotherapy and as such was formally bestowed the name of Xiao Wushi, meaning Little Warrior. Joe will be so missed and has been a true inspiration to all of us and his spirit will forever be with us.”
Tributes have also been made by his classmates at the club. “Kind, polite inspirational and courageous are words that will remind me of him,” said Sophie.
Jacob added: “Joe was an amazing fighter. He was strong and good at all he did. He always had a smile on his face which I will miss and was always positive. He wouldn’t want us to be upset and he hasn’t left us as he will always be in our hearts.”
Faith added: “Joe was a very nice boy and good at what he did and everyone who knew him loved him. Your spirit will always be with us and we will really miss you.”
Rhiana added: “I don’t think I have ever met anyone as positive as Joe was. I was very lucky to have known him, he will never leave our hearts.”