At 17 you’re invincible, or so you would think. Being diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma at such a pivotal age is incomprehensible.
I remember being physically stunned when Lee told me of his illness. I didn’t know how to feel, and it wasn’t me that this was all happening to. I sometimes try to imagine what it must have been like for him, but I don’t think I could even come close to how he must have felt.
During the four and a half years of his illness Lee underwent several bone-marrow transplants and countless rounds of chemotherapy. Through it all he retained his impeccable sense of humour: always greeting people with a smile; and never wanting to be a hassle to anyone. In spite of his illness he lived life to the fullest that he could: playing in gigs with his band, the mighty Postillionage; returning to Sixth-form College at Sudbury Upper; even enrolling in an Open University natural sciences course.
I’m not sure how Lee was made aware of the Willow foundation, or how they were made aware of him. I do know that the two days I was lucky enough to spend with him and Andrew in London were amazing. Everything was thoughtfully organised and prepared by the charity. They listened to Lee’s requests and ideas and formulated a great trip to the City for us…
It was the summer of 2005 and The Willow Foundation had arranged for us to spend a couple of days in London, with one of them being at Slap Studios, Brixton. They put us up in a five star hotel, the Grovesnor, Marble Arch, and gave us £100 spending money. We travelled down early on the first day in glorious sunshine, and spent it mooching round the music shops off of Tottenham court road. In the evening we grabbed a bite to eat and went to the comedy store.
The next day was the day of the recording session in Brixton. The studio was in an old building, like a converted Victorian warehouse, it was also in the same building that Basement Jaxx have a studio. The engineer, Rory, was a smashing chap that did a great job of producing the track “Did you ever?” a band favourite, penned by Liam Steer, and adapted for this such recording by Lee and Andrew. The day flew by, with only occasional stoppages for cups of tea and pizza. In the end we produced a masterpiece of a song with a solid poignancy that hits me every time I listen to it.
I will cherish the memories of those two days forever, as I’m sure will anyone else who has benefitted from the work of the Willow Foundation.
As I have already said, Lee was very quick witted with an awesome sense of humour, but this is just the tip of the ice-berg in describing him as a person. He was a playful guy with a big heart, and this was supported by his mature resolve and compassionate wisdom.
LeeStock is a great and positive thing to come out of such a tragedy as losing Lee. It’s such a fitting testament to the guy, as he loved music and socialising, and a fantastic way to give back to Charity and help others in need.
Lee was, is, and will always be, an Inspiration.
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