Josie King remembered at prom as Sunderland school creates lasting memorial to teenager
A school set a place for a Sunderland schoolgirl at the prom night she should have been at before a rare cancer claimed her life aged 15.
Today will mark a year since the death of Sandhill View student Josie King, who died after developing Ewing sarcoma bone cancer – with her memory to live on for another generation to come through her niece due to be born later this summer.
The school has now unveiled a plaque and bench, while her brother Jack, 15, and her best friend Callum Nichols, 16, helped plant yellow rose bush, which will grow in its grounds as a lasting memorial to the keen boxer.
It also ensured she was not forgotten at the end of year prom for her year group, with Jack invited along as a special guest and a place set at a table for her, along with a candle lit in her memory.
Jack and her friend Trinity Goodwin were taken to the celebration on the back of Hells Angels bikes – a treat which would have been lined up for Josie had she made it to the night.
Callum also remembered Josie by wearing her initials on his cuff links for the evening.
Tonight, her friends plan to gather and enjoy a meal at Sambuca in Low Street, which was Josie’s favourite, with a balloon release planned for 6.30pm on the field next to McDonald’s on North Moor Lane.
As her family urge people to “light up Facebook yellow, like she lit up our worlds,” to remember her a year on, they say they have been overwhelmed with the support they have been given since they lost their much-loved girl.
They have also revealed she would have become an auntie, with her sister Jess, 22, due to give birth to a daughter in September – the mum-to-be has already decided her girl will be named Josie Rae in tribute.
Mum Donna, 43, said she and the children’s dad John King, 43, have been touched by people’s response to the memorials, with a special thanks sent to Josie’s head of year Amy Wright for her effort in remembering Josie.
“It’s honestly lovely because it means she is not being forgotten about.
“It has been really hard for us. I still don’t think I’ve processed it.
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“Jack has said the way he’s thinking about it is as if she’s gone on holiday for a long time and is on the other side of the world, and I think the same.
“Josie would have loved being on the back of a bike on her prom night, she always liked to be different.
“The tree planting was really beautiful, it really was and that was all down to Amy, so we want to say thank you to her, she’s done so much.
Josie’s cousins Lewis and Ryan Doneathy took part in a fundraising football match in memory of Bradley Lowery Foundation at the weekend.
It helped mark two years since the six-year-old Blackhall Colliery boy, who became known the world over through his love of Sunderland AFC and the campaign to raise funds for treatment, lost his own cancer fight.
Bradley and Josie were being treated at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary during the same time period.
Funds raised in her name have been donated to the foundation, which supports the families of sick children.
Plains Farm Boxing Club is also planning on installing a bench in tribute to Josie, who shared a passion for the sport with her brother.