Dad’s fundraising mission in memory of tragic son
The father of a little boy who drowned has raised more than a thousand pounds for a string of organisations close to his heart - after pounding the cliffs of Norfolk in his son's memory.
It is three years since nine-year-old Sean Laxen, from Horsford, died when he slipped on rocks at Conwy Falls in the Welsh town of Betwys-y-Coed.
His father Richard, who lives in Aylsham and works for Norfolk County Council, marked the anniversary of his son's death in August by taking part in a sponsored weekend walk along the coast of the county, returning to some of the spots he had visited with Sean in the month before his death.
Mr Laxen raised �1,300 and last week presented the money to a number of organisations which have special meaning to his family.
The bulk of the money has been split between projects for children at St Faiths and Horsford Scouts, which some of Sean's school friends attend and ist Aylsham Scouts, where his 11-year-old brother Scott is a member.
The rest of the cash has been shared equally between Sean's former schools Horsford Middle School and St Faith Primary School, along with Sidestrand Hall Special School, which Sean had been due to attend, plus Betws-Y-Coed Primary School.
Mr Laxen, who was joined on the 40-mile walk from Wells-next-the-Sea to Walcott sea wall by his nieces Laura and Lucy Abel, joined forces with the Royal National Lifeboat Institute to hand out safety leaflets warning of water dangers.
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He said the walk had brought back happy memories of the times he visited the coast with his sons from rock pooling at West Runton to them playing with their Tonka toys at Walcott.
He said: 'I must take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all the lifeguards and lifeboat crews who took their time to meet and greet us, the caf� proprietors who took sympathy on us and took the leaflets to distribute, the members of the public who must have thought what was happening as t-shirt clad people were thrusting leaflets into their hands and the sponsors of me and my nieces.
'But the biggest thank you goes to Laura and Lucy who made my quest of remembering Sean theirs and joined me on the walk and were the best companions an uncle could have wished for.'
He said the organisations given money had been given 'the clear instruction of spending it on doing something physical that makes them smile with pleasure and glee which is what Sean would have wanted.'
Last summer Mr Laxen completed a parachute jump at Old Buckenham airfield along with his nephew Michael Creed to raise money in Sean's memory.
An inquest in 2008 heard how Sean, who was on holiday with his mother Linda and brother, had slipped on rocks at the water's edge and drowned.
Rescuers from the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team spent 27 hours looking for Sean before he was eventually discovered in a deep pool close to where he fell.
Mr Laxen has previously helped raise hundreds of pounds for the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team while a memorial bench has been installed close to where Sean died.