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Bench tribute to tragic Poole teenager Tom Rowley
THE parents of a Poole teenager who died suddenly following a drugs overdose have unveiled a bench in his memory.
Paid for by donations from the local community, the bench is sited at the small Canford Heath park where Tom Rowley played as a youngster.
After news of the popular 18-year-old’s death broke last summer friends and family created an impromptu shrine at the same spot.
Tom’s father, John, who has vowed to keep warning youngsters of the dangers of drugs, told the Daily Echo: “This is somewhere where we will be able to come every few months to sit and remember the good times we had with Tom. This is where he used to come to play as a child.
“Tom has passed away, but I don’t want people to think he died in vain. I want to keep getting through to other kids about the dangers of taking drugs. Drugs can ruin lives, ruin families.”
The £800 metal bench was bought following donations from Tom’s friends, family and neighbours.
Last October, an event was held in Tom’s memory at nearby Limelights Youth Club, Canford Heath, to raise funds for this lasting tribute.
Tom’s mum Pam said: “Tom’s friends, people of this community, work colleagues, people who knew him through school, they have all donated money towards this bench. We wanted to thank them and show them where this money has gone.
“The community has been amazing, absolutely amazing. The support we have had has been overwhelming.”
John added: “The people of Canford Heath have helped us get through these past few months.”
An inquest into Tom’s death has been opened and adjourned.