IT HAS been four years since 16-year-old Will Mackaness lost his fight for life against a brain tumour.
Yet his name resounds around Wey Valley School and Sports College in Weymouth where he was head boy and the main school hall, which is named in his honour.
It is also repeated daily across the borough and beyond, thanks to a trust set up in his memory that has enabled hundreds of youngsters to experience the thrill of watersports.
Will’s mum Pam Govier, head of languages at Wey Valley, said hearing students say they are going to the ‘Will Mackaness Hall’ or sailing, windsurfing or swimming with the ‘Will Mackaness Trust’,
has helped keep her son’s memory alive.
She said: “Will died much too young. But he had a full and active life; he lived absolutely to the full and never felt sorry for himself.
“The school’s mission statement is to inspire and achieve and that’s exactly what he was about.
“He did everything he could despite feeling so awful and he was so proud to be selected by the year group and staff to be head boy.”
She added: “All of his school time at Wey Valley, Will had the tumour, yet every year he got awards for sport and he took part in everything.
“For me, every day I hear his name, either through the trust or pupils going to the Will Mackaness Hall, means he’s never forgotten.”
Will died at home in August 2008, just 30 minutes after receiving his GCSE results – his determination to ‘hang on and find out, was very much like his character’, Pam said.
He was first diagnosed with the tumour in 2005 and returned to school full-time in Year 10 following two operations, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. His brain tumour returned in February 2008.
Will, known for his ‘lovely smile and happy ways’, won the Year 11 Commitment to Sports award, played the violin and piano, took part in a school production and volunteered with autistic children.
Pam said Will’s illness changed her outlook on life and the pair ‘made the most of the time we had’, enjoying ‘marvellous summers’ at the beach.
She added: “He was such an easy-going boy and he never felt sorry for himself but was always concerned and caring towards others.
“I miss him so much, but what gives me strength is the time we had together.”
The Will Mackaness Trust, set up by the school in his memory, has since gained charity status and the support of Olympian Nick Dempsey who is a trustee
along with Pam, headteacher Phil Thomas, Clive Burgess, Brian Willet and Will’s best friend Jamie Frampton.
One of Will’s passions was windsurfing and the trust provides watersport opportunities to borough youngsters, funded purely by donations and fundraising activities.
Pam said: “We’ve had so many success stories.
“One of the great things is that several children have organised sponsored events themselves.
“We’re trying to keep coming up with new ideas. Now we’re looking at having swimming lessons to build young people’s confidence on the water.”
Will’s legacy is certain to live on.