THE generosity of the community has ensured the musical legacy of a teenager will live on.
In just eight weeks, Paula and Andy Graham have been able to raise £10,000 to buy a new grand piano for Crookhorn College, where their son Will was a pupil and was renowned for his musical talent.
They said they had been ‘overwhelmed’ by the love and support from the community as they still struggle to come to terms with their tragic loss.
As reported, the 16-year-old Royal Marine cadet was found dead at his home in Sapphire Ridge, Waterlooville, after coming home from school in March.
An inquest will take place to determine how he died.
Shortly after his death, Paula and Andy launched the piano appeal and could never have imagined the response following a story in The News.
Paula, a 45-year-old tutor, said: ‘There were 100 or so donations, anything from £5 to a couple of hundred and even one in the thousands.
‘Some of the donations were from people we had never heard of.
‘I’m sure that’s down to people reading the story who felt it was a good cause and wanted to see something positive come from a tragic situation.
‘Within eight weeks, it’s fabulous. We are overwhelmed by the support.
‘It’s quite amazing how generous and kind people have been and obviously how much Will was loved.
‘It’s nice for people to see something good has come from such a tragic loss and this is going to make a big difference to a lot of people in the future. We have done it!’
Will’s world revolved around music and every lunchtime he could be found playing the old piano in the music room at Crookhorn.
The Roland digital grand piano has now been bought and is being kept under wraps until its unveiling at a memorial ceremony in September.
The piano will have a plaque dedicated to Will, entitled Just Keep Dreaming – a song he composed.
And nearby, outside the performing arts department of the school, there will be a new memorial garden for Will, complete with a tree and four pathways leading to picnic benches.
Paula added: ‘The piano couldn’t be a better tribute to Will.
‘It’s such a shame he cannot play on it himself.
‘But his spirit will be round that piano.
‘I’m sure in the dead of night, when there’s no-one there, he will be playing it himself.
‘He will be there in spirit because he loved to help the children learn to play the piano.’
Paula praised the support from school staff and pupils, who have helped design the memorial garden.
Crookhorn’s headteacher Grahame Sammons said: ‘The piano is a fitting tribute to Will. I am sure he would have approved.’