The devoted family of the talented young man, who sadly died from meningococcal group W (MenW) when he was 18, has successfully gained crowd-funding to publish the story Edward created in his first year at secondary school.
Publication enables the Saunders family to ensure that their dearly loved son and brother leaves a lasting literary legacy whilst at the same time raising money for the fight against meningitis with all the profits coming to us.
Happy, clever, handsome and fun-loving boy
“Edward was a happy, clever, handsome and fun-loving boy who dreamed of one day publishing his own book. Tragically, at the age of 18 years, he died after contracting meningitis and was robbed of the opportunity to become an author."
“We’ve always been determined to make Edward's dream come true, and so have published this book in his memory. We hope you enjoy his humorous tale."
“The challenge with this project has been producing it to a high standard, something that people will buy in the shops, but also keeping it true to Edward's original drawings, which we have added at the back of the book."
“It is devastating that anyone should lose their lives or lose limbs to this terrible disease and if Edward's book can raise awareness as well as funds in the hope that one day it will be a thing of the past then I know Edward would be very proud of us all.”
When Tracey decided to publish the book with the support of crowd-funding she turned to Kickstarter, to raise her target of £5k. She was touched and amazed by all the support she received and raised more than £10k in only 30 days.
Launched this week
The launch of this very special book takes place this week. It’s available, priced £7.99 with free UK postage (and a free book bag whilst stocks last), from the dedicated website - www.robeyandthedentist.co.uk – where there’s lots of other information too.
The book was inspired by a teacher who asked all the class to write a bedtime story for his own little boy, Robey. Edward’s delightful story is about a lad who is worried his dentist will think his teeth aren’t white enough – but learns that clean teeth are more important than white teeth.
Ashley Pharoah, who wrote the TV series of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes and, like Edward, went to Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital School in Bristol, is also supporting the book: “Edward and I had three things in common: we went to the same school, we once shook each other by the hand, and we both dreamed of being writers. I urge you to buy this sweet, funny, gentle book and make Edward’s dream a reality.”
Spare families the shock and trauma
In the last five years the incidence of MenW has increased fivefold. Tracey has warmly welcomed the recent announcement by the Department of Health that it will be offering the vaccination against MenW to all 17 and 18-year-olds from August 2015.
As a result, she hopes that other families will be spared the shock and trauma that her family went through when they lost Edward in a matter of hours. Edward was a lovely son and a studious pupil who had just got the grades to go to Warwick University and along with fellow pupils of the high-performing QEH School was featured on the front page of The Times.
After finishing his A-level exams, he went to a Pink Floyd gig in London with his friend Lewis. He returned happy and seemingly healthy. But later that day he complained of being cold and especially of having cold feet. In the early hours of the morning he told his mum that he was feeling very sick – he thought he might have eaten a “dodgy chicken kebab” while in London. Two hours later she called an ambulance and he was rushed to hospital. By 10am he was dead.
Through her growing acceptance that the speed of the infection meant there was nothing she could have done to save Edward, Tracey is determined to see that his legacy is a lasting one.
While he wanted to be a shipping lawyer, he had told Tracey that one day he would be an author. She is excited about the numbers of books being ordered and knowing that many households around the UK will have a copy of the book with Edward’s name on it. Tracey is delighted that a copy will be in the British Library and she is planning to send a copy to Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Why did Edward write about going to the dentist? Tracey has no idea. But children who read the book will get a positive message about cleaning their teeth and that will all be part of Edward’s legacy too.