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Heartbroken mother of Ramsgate teen Samuel Alban-Stanley pays emotional tribute to her 'pure and gentle' boy

A handmade box sits on a dresser in Patricia Stanley's house, filled with notes in a child's handwriting.

Written by her son, Sammy Alban-Stanley, many have little hearts on them, with one reading: "To Mummy, thank you for looking after me."

Sammy with his lime and soda
Sammy with his lime and soda

The 13-year-old from Ramsgate had made the box, too - just one of his extraordinary creations during a life cut tragically short.

Patricia says her son was never happier than when carrying out a project, which he would intricately research, even calling on specialists from the community for some advice.

It was this vibrant character and his love of finding out how things worked that would make him so well-known in Ramsgate and therefore so sorely missed when he died in April.

The Laleham Gap School pupil, who had autism and a complex neurological disorder, was found seriously injured at 6.50am on April 22 in Marina Road after reportedly falling from the clifftop.

He was rushed to King's College Hospital in London but tragically died four days later from a traumatic brain injury, leaving behind his grieving parents and three younger sisters.

"He was a very special boy and a lot of people could see and feel how special he was..."

An inquest next year, which will possibly be heard by a jury, will examine the care provided to Sammy by public health and mental health authorities before he died and whether his needs were adequately met.

Patricia, who lives in Queen's Road, says losing him has left a huge hole in their lives, not just for the family, but the community, too.

"Sammy was such a character," she said.

"He was such a pure, loving soul. You couldn't find anyone more kind or gentle than him.

"He was a very special boy and a lot of people could see and feel how special he was."

Sammy at the Royal Victoria Pavilion in Ramsgate
Sammy at the Royal Victoria Pavilion in Ramsgate

Sammy had moved to Ramsgate in 2018, after spending many holidays in the seaside town.

The eldest of four children, he loved learning new things and would commit completely to whatever he turned his hand to.

"He enjoyed so many hobbies and when he got into something, he really got into it," said Patricia.

"He'd learn the intricacies and know about them in great depth.

"One of his main hobbies was woodwork and he did a bit of upholstery.

"He was such a character, and so sweet and innocent..."

"He would spend hours going over his plans, finding out types of exotic and rare woods.

"He'd speak to specialists and have a wide range of tools - he'd know the name of each drill bit."

Patricia laughs when she recalls how he knew the staff in local timber merchants Burbridges, having always popped in there for off-cuts of wood.

"He also got into sewing so he was known at the haberdashery in Ramsgate," she said.

"He'd get very specialist with it. He'd be very pedantic about the thing he needed so he could complete his project properly.

"He was also known at Young's nursery because he got into gardening; he had a vegetable patch and fruit area in our garden.

"We have a very small courtyard and one section was his workshop and the other side his gardening - his sisters didn't get a look in."

Patricia says keeping busy really helped Sammy, and he took an interest in everything.

The teen, who loved inflatables, would often speak to the owners of the inflatable play area on Ramsgate beach and they would occasionally let him help them put it up.

He would also chat to the beach lifeguards about their equipment and was well-known at the Royal Victoria Pavilion, where he would go for a lime and soda every morning with his mother.

Sammy loved doing upholstery
Sammy loved doing upholstery

Patricia said: "Sammy would know everyone there and they'd all chat away.

"He was such a character, and so sweet and innocent. He knew who everyone was and they knew him.

"He was very much part of the community. He was interested in people's lives and he'd often go round to our elderly neighbour's house for a chat and cup of tea."

Heartbroken Patricia says the house is a lot quieter now Sammy has gone.

"There's no hammering in the garden," she said. "We all desperately miss him, the community does as well - a lot of people are very saddened by this.

"His wonderful, beautiful, interesting, refreshing personality - the purity of it - he was enjoyed because of that, by many people.

"People did things for him and he was so grateful. He would say: 'Mummy, that is just the kindest thing they've done. I'm going to go and thank them myself'.

"He'd go straight up to them. It was really heartfelt, he really meant it, it wasn't that his mum has just told him to say it."

"The family is keen to lodge a full and fair inquiry into the circumstances of Sammy's death..."

Patricia sits with the box he made and pulls out the little notes he'd always write for her, which say thank you and that he loves her.

She also brings out the handbag he lovingly made her for her birthday.

"He was the purest gem," she said. "I am so proud of him, he was warm-hearted, kind and polite. He is so missed by everyone."

A pre-inquest review was held at Archbishop's Palace in Maidstone which was attended by Patricia and Sammy's dad, Barry Stanley.

A full Article 2 inquest, which is an enhanced hearing, will be held next year in which the care provided to Sammy by Kent County Council and North East London NHS Foundation Trust will be examined.

Barrister Angela Patrick, representing the family, said: "This is to look at whether the needs of a disabled child were adequately met.

"And whether vulnerable children's needs were adequately met during the health crisis.

"The family is keen to lodge a full and fair inquiry into the circumstances of Sammy's death."

For confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time or click here to visit the website.

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