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Tributes to Norton Knatchbull School pupil Samuel Fournillier

By Kristina Curtis

Tributes have been paid after the death of an "incredibly kind, thoughtful and considerate" teenager.

Samuel Fournillier, 18, was a pupil at the Norton Knatchbull School in Ashford and described as a talented artist and dedicated basketball player.

He was diagnosed with leukaemia over the Christmas period and had begun chemotherapy treatment at University College London Hospital at the beginning of January.

Samuel Fournillier
Samuel Fournillier

He passed away just weeks later.

Samuel was a Year 13 student at the grammar school, where he had been educated since Year 7 and his talent for art became apparent.

Head teacher Susanne Staab said: “Sam was a shining light – an intelligent, kind and humorous boy with impeccable manners, incredible talent and a strong determination to succeed.

“Sam will be so very much missed by all his friends and all the staff here at school.”

Alongside his talent for art, Samuel was also a keen basketball player and was member of the North School Lions.

Head coach Andrew Sunderland, on behalf of the team, paid tribute to Samuel: “The North School Lions are more than a basketball team, we are a family and the impact that Samuel had on the coaching staff and his team-mates was undeniable and unforgettable.

“A gentle, kind and charismatic young man in day-to-day life, Samuel was a brave and fearless warrior on the court.

Samuel Fournillier was a talented basketball player
Samuel Fournillier was a talented basketball player

“The history of the program is something which the players and coaches, past and present, are incredibly proud of and Samuel’s name will forever be synonymous with integrity, courage and pride.

“We are hurting deeply right now but it is the lessons we have learnt from Samuel in resilience and determination that are guiding us through.”

Last year, Samuel developed his basketball skills by becoming a member of the Ashford Outlaws basketball team.

A spokesman for the Ashford Outlaws said: “Sam was an incredibly kind, thoughtful and considerate young man.

“Last season was his first as an official member of the men’s team, though he’d been part of the Outlaws family for several years.

“Before joining the team, he would often give up his Friday nights to help out with the table duties, which is just a small insight into the kind of selfless and caring individual he was.

“As a player, he showed an instinct and discipline far beyond his young age.

Norton Knatchbull School head teacher Susanne Staab described Samuel as an incredible talent
Norton Knatchbull School head teacher Susanne Staab described Samuel as an incredible talent

"He was the master of incredibly effective and unstoppable euro-step, which left both defenders and team-mates shaking their heads in awe.

“He was integral part of the team’s success last season, with a bright future that extended far beyond the lines of the basketball court.

“A dedicated student and passionate artist, his tragic loss has been felt by his wide circle of family, friends and team-mates. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

A spokesman for East Kent Basketball Association (EKBA) added: “It is with great sadness that the EKBA has learnt that one of its members, Sam Fournillier, has lost his life at the tragically young age of just 18.

“Sam represented Ashford Outlaws and more than played his role in helping them to secure the 2016-2017 season league title.

“His superb talent was recognised by all and he was duly voted the association’s Most Improved Junior Male .

“Sam leaves behind so many friends within and outside basketball. He was so very charismatic and loved by all that met him.

Samuel was named the Most Valuable Player for this team
Samuel was named the Most Valuable Player for this team

“The association sends its sincere and heartfelt condolences to Sam’s family. He will be greatly missed.”

A JustGiving page set up towards Samuel’s funeral costs has already passed its target of £3,500, with more than £7,600 donated in just over a week.

Along with donations, tributes have also been flooding in.

Caroline Reynolds wrote: “So, so sorry to hear about Sam. He was an absolute pleasure to teach and he was such a positive member of my class.”

Elaine Miller: “Such a smashing, kind-hearted and polite young man. Such a terrible waste, I’ll remember his smiley face, Samuel was a great friend to my son. So sad.”

Lindsey Rigby: “I just can’t find the words to say how we feel, and can only imagine what you’re going through... our hearts and thoughts are with you at this very sad time.”

Dan and Ruth Elms: “With lots of love to all the family, you are in our thoughts and prayers. May Jehovah strengthen and protect everyone affected by this great loss.”

Sarah Pickup: “Our hearts go out to such a lovely family. Thinking of you, and all that were so close to Sam.”

Gladys Njoku: “So sorry to learn of Sam’s death. Devastating news. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Rest in Peace.”

To contribute to the fundraising page click here

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