‘Our Adam had such a zest for life’

Scott, Heather and Adam Williamson
Scott, Heather and Adam Williamson

He was a boy who loved McFlurry ice creams from McDonalds, Heinz tomato soup and diet coke, and always wanted to be out and about – whether that be at The Alnwick Garden, going to the farm or at school, all places he loved.

And his mum Heather also said that Adam would have been excited to be in the newspaper.

Adam Williamson

Adam Williamson

“Adam had a huge character and personality,” she said. “He had such a zest for life.

“He loved his life and he didn’t realise how unwell he was.

“He had a fantastic life and we gave him the best time we could under the circumstances.”

Adam suffered from VACTERL association, an extremely rare assortment of birth defects, which left him reliant on tubes for feeding and requiring 24-hour oxygen.

However, this led to great amusement at times as he became hysterical laughing at his mum or dad if they tripped over the lengths of tube around the house.

Dad Scott, who works at Market Street Dental Practice, said: “It was always so funny, the funniest thing that ever was.”

Adam was also unable to talk, but used a mixture of signs and photographs to communicate. He always wanted to plan his day and know where he was going, especially if it was school.

Adam went to the Grove School in Berwick part-time and even in the summer he would try to get his lunchbox out the night before. It was impossible to persuade him that school wasn’t open.

Heather said: “They called him a worker and he was a character, always looking for mischief.”

His job was to take the register to the secretary after it was done, but although he was meant to go straight there and straight back, if a student was looking after him, he would find ways to dawdle.

“He used to make a bit of a fool of them,” Heather said. “He was quite clever at getting what he wanted.”

Aside from school, Adam had many other interests including being a regular at Sainsbury’s cafe, going for chips in Seahouses and Amble and visiting the farm at East Links Family Park in Dunbar with his aunt Fiona Kirkup, who helped to look after Adam.

“We were very lucky that there were three of us,” said Heather. “Adam had a lovely protective bubble. Up until the last three months, he wanted to be out and about from when he woke up in the morning.

“He would pass you his shoes so you knew he wanted to go out.”

Scott said: “He loved people and people loved him. He was a very sociable boy.

“Patients would come in and ask about Adam and I would say that if there’s one thing to wish for it’s that you are as happy as Adam.”

The support the family has had since Adam died has taken the couple a bit by surprise.

“It’s overwhelming, the kindness from people,” said Scott, “because it’s very dark times for Heather and I.”

Heather said: “Although we knew how special a boy he was, what’s lovely is that other people knew and appreciated that.”

Another thing Adam loved was Christmas and this year he had put the decorations up, which he always wanted to do as soon as he saw Santa on the tower in Alnwick.

He had been deteriorating for the last few months, but it was still a shock when Scott and Heather found him last Monday, having passed away from a respiratory infection in the early hours.

Scott said: “We didn’t want him to die in hospital, we wanted him to stay at home.”

“That would have been my worst case,” said Heather, “to have lost him in a hospital environment.

“When we found him, he was exactly the same as when he went to bed, with his little rabbit. He hadn’t suffered, I think he just slept away.

“That’s the best-case scenario you would want for someone you love because he had suffered enough.

“We always got a lot of love and affection back. I would have loved him to talk but it could have caused a lot of embarrassing situations, I don’t think he would have been very tactful, put it like that.”

Scott added: “The conversations we have been having recently, we could have been having 10 or 12 years ago.”

“I always said that I would have no regrets if we lost him suddenly, which I don’t, and not a lot of people can say that,” said Heather. “He was happy when you put him to bed and happy when he woke up in the morning. I think he just had enough, I think he was tired. Adam’s condition was rare so they didn’t know how long we would have him but we never focused on that.”

• A celebration of Adam’s life is taking place on Sunday at The Alnwick Garden, where balloons will be released and there will be plenty of crackers, two more of Adam’s favourite things. There will also be cards for people to write their memories of Adam, which will then be compiled into a book.