Gifted Waterlooville teenager leaves legacy as stunning piano is unveiled at Crookhorn College in his memory

From left, Jacob Kennard, Gavin Moon, Ian Doyle and Sarah Talboys-Smith with Shanon Rees and Rodney Watson at the front
 at the Southsea Village in Palmerston Road Picture: Habibur Rahman

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  • Crookhorn College headteacher says gifted Will ‘embodied’ its ethos
  • Proud dad says there will ‘never be a replacement’ for his amazing son
  • Pear tree planted in memory to teenager’s life
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OUR talented son has left a legacy that will endure for generations.

That was the heartfelt message from the family of Will Graham as a community came together to witness the unveiling of a stunning memorial to the teenager’s life.

Paula and Andrew Graham, parents of Will Graham, seated at the piano they've donated to Crookhorn College in his memory

Paula and Andrew Graham, parents of Will Graham, seated at the piano they've donated to Crookhorn College in his memory

Sixteen-year-old Will, a gifted pianist predicted to achieve excellent exam grades, was found hanged at his home in Sapphire Ridge, Waterlooville, after coming back from Crookhorn College on March 5 this year.

And on Saturday, family, friends and staff honoured him by unveiling a beautiful digital grand piano at the college which students will now use to hone their skills and can be used for performances and recordings.

The piano includes a plaque to Will, entitled Just Keep Dreaming – a song he composed. His parents, Paula and Andy Graham, launched a fundraising campaign to raise £10,000 to buy the school a new piano.

Speaking to The News, Mr Graham said: ‘This means everything to me. It has sent the message that Will had so many people who loved him, who were inspired by him. I knew he had friends, but I never really knew how much he was really loved.

I am the proudest dad in the world, someone who has lost a great son in the world. There will never be a replacement for him, there never can be.

Andy Graham

‘I am the proudest dad in the world, someone who has lost a great son in the world. There will never be a replacement for him, there never can be.’

‘Will has left a legacy, and as far as I am concerned, he hasn’t gone, he is still at this school.’

Proud mum Mrs Graham said: ‘It’s overwhelming. This is a legacy and whether people knew him or not, they will know of him and what he meant to everyone.’

The college’s head of creative arts, Adam Brunink, played a poignant performance of Jacoret on the new piano – a song he composed.

A pear tree was also planted in the college’s new garden – on the day of what would have been Will’s 17th birthday – with a Just Keep Dreaming plaque.

Mourners were given the opportunity to use a spade to put some soil around the tree.

Paying tribute, headteacher Grahame Sammons said: ‘Will was a student who embodied the Crookhorn ethos.

‘He performed, composed and enjoyed music to the full, a very important part of his life.’