Laura loses brave battle against cancer

Laura Forbes, who lost her brave fight against cancer on Saturday.
Laura Forbes, who lost her brave fight against cancer on Saturday.

THE HEARTBROKEN family of Forfar teenager Laura Forbes, who lost her brave battle against cancer on Saturday, have spoken with pride of the daughter and sister who fought courageously without complaining.

Tragically, the family home in Station Road still features celebratory balloons for Laura’s 16th birthday on January 25 - which now mingle with sympathy cards and floral tributes.

Laura’s parents, Audrey and Donald, and her younger brother, 11-year-old Daniel, described Laura as “so brave”

Audrey said: “We were so proud of how she managed to get through everything. She was one amazing, talented young lady. She never complained. She wasn’t silly, she wasn’t selfish, she did say there were others who were worse off than her. She always put others first. We will miss her so much.”

Laura was an outgoing girl who took part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. She also coached with Forfar Falcons, receiving the Jan Wilson Memorial Award in 2010 for her voluntary work with the swimming club.

She was diagnosed with cancer in September 2011 and, despite numerous operations and chemotherapy treatments, she remained positive and upbeat.

The popular fifth year pupil at Forfar Academy was preparing to sit her prelim exams, and had enjoyed a family Christmas at home as well as spending time with her family on her birthday.

Audrey continued: “She was doing fine and her last CT scan was fine. She finished her chemotherapy in July and had been attending the Aberdeen Royal Children’s Hospital on an out-patient basis once a month. She had a bit of a cough at Christmas and we took her up to the hospital last Tuesday.

“I never thought we would come home and have to take down birthday cards and replace them with sympathy cards. Laura had been in good spirits and was getting on really well at school. She did sometimes get a bit fed up that she couldn’t do things a normal teenager could do.”

News of Laura’s death quickly spread via Facebook over the weekend, with hundreds of tributes posted by her school friends, including her boyfriend - sixth year pupil Alex Milne.

Last April, following a suggestion by Laura’s brother Daniel, a major fund-raising event was held by Laura’s school friends at Murton Farm. It was attended by over 1,000 people reflecting the strength of support for Laura as she battled the illness.

Laura’s parents are grateful to the staff at the Aberdeen Royal Children’s Hospital for the care they have provided. Dad Donald took to the skies last year, along with his friend Michael Arbuckle, for a sponsored sky-dive.

The pair raised £3,000 for the Archie Foundation at the hospital.

Donald said: “Archie’s is a really important part of the hospital. It provides accommodation for parents staying at the hospital and training for specialist nurses and equipment for the kids.”

Donald had earlier raised funds through Archie’s “grow a beard for bairns”.

In paying tribute to Laura, Melvyn Lynch, headteacher at Forfar Academy said: “We were all very saddened to hear of the passing away on Saturday of fifth year pupil Laura Forbes, who has been bravely fighting illness for some time. Laura, who was 16 only two weeks ago, was an extremely popular and talented pupil who excelled academically, in sports and in everything she did. She will be sadly missed and our thoughts are very much with her family and friends at this very sad time.”

Mr Euan Gow, principal teacher of pupil care and support at the Academy, added that a special assembly for S5 pupils will be held this week to give pupils the chance to remember Laura and to try to come to terms with their loss.

He said: “A lasting tribute, yet to be finalised, will be made to ensure Laura’s time at Forfar Academy is remembered. Laura was an outstanding young lady, with a glittering future ahead of her, had she not been taken from us so very young. She was a credit to herself, her family and the community.”

r At the time of going to press details for Laura’s funeral were being finalised, but the family have asked that those attending the service wear something pink or purple, Laura’s favourite colours.