Friend remembers Sunderland teenager Thomas Brookes with heartbreaking final goodbye song

In the days after losing his close friend, Ethan Damsell channelled his grief into writing a song to remember the beloved teenager.

Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 7:00 am
Thomas Brookes and Ethan Damsell

Thomas Brookes was just 16 years old when his mum, Helen Wardropper, found him dead at their Grangetown home in September 2019.

When friend Ethan first heard of the tragic loss, he took to writing a song – ‘One in a Million’ – to cope with the unbearable grief of losing a loved one.

Helen, Ethan and a number of Thomas’s friends and family members have been raising funds and awareness of charities likes If You Care Share in the teenager’s memory.

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For the first anniversary without Thomas, Ethan, an apprentice bricklayer, uploaded the song to Youtube in his friend’s memory.

Ethan said: “I started writing it on the day he died. It was my way of coping and it helped me in dealing with his loss.

"One day he was there and I was with him and the next day he wasn’t. The song was my first reaction to cope with it to be able to write about memories together and the person he was.”

In the heartbreaking song, which is accompanied with pictures of Thomas and his friends, Ethan speaks about how the 16-year-old was a ‘good guy’ who always had a smile and that he will treasure memories with him for the rest of his life.

Thomas Brookes and with mum Helen Wardropper (left) and aunt Cheryl Coggins

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The 17-year-old also talks about wishing Thomas knew he was always there for him and that he wished he could have said goodbye.

"It’s so important to keep him memory alive,” said Ethan, who attended Sandhill View Academy.

"He was an amazing person and he seemed to influence everyone.

"We keep in touch with his mam Helen. She’s taken us under her wing and I know she’d be there for any of us.

“She has us too – because we were good friends of Tom I think it’s a good coping method for her as well.”

Helen said: “I think it’s so important that Ethan was able to put all of these feelings into a song.

"I think, especially for young men, it’s hard to say what they feeling and he’s found a way to grieve and remember Tom and say what he needed to say.”

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