Memorial bench unveiled for Attleborough teenager

A memorial bench was unveiled at the weekend at a Norfolk fishing lakes in memory of a popular Attleborough teen, who should have been celebrating his 19th birthday.

Keen fisherman Sam Hasler was a regular visitor to Swangey Lakes near Snetterton where he fished for carp, bream and perch and would have probably visited the site yesterday to enjoy his favourite hobby.

But the then 18-year-old died on December 27 from bronchopneumonia and sepsis after collapsing at home on Christmas Day despite suffering few symptoms, apart from a headache and sickness.

However, his parents Phil and Kerry Hasler, who used to live in Attleborough, unveiled the bench, bearing the poignant inscription 'Sam Hasler, the one that got away,' as a lasting reminder of their son in a tranquil area of trees close to the lakes.

They were joined by other relatives, including Sam's brothers Joe, 12 and Ben, 21 and many friends of the former Attleborough High School who had plans to be a property builder and had just started his second year of a building course at Norwich City College.

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Mr Hasler said: 'This was one of his local fishing areas that he used to love coming to. He wanted to catch some of the catfish in one of the lakes. The bench is here to mark where he used to go fishing.'

His parents spotted the carved wooden bench while visiting Sandringham Craft Fair and thought it would make a fitting tribute to their son, who was over 6ft tall, because it had carvings of fish at either end.

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'He was like a big gentle giant really. He didn't really have a care in the world, except his friends and family. He was always up for a laugh and a joke and a muck about. He would think the bench is fantastic,' Mr Hasler said.

Sam began to suffer a headache and sickness on December 23 for which a doctor prescribed him migraine tablets. His condition improved over the next two days, although he felt unable to eat his Christmas Day meal.

At 9.30pm that day he appeared to fall asleep on the sofa, but when his family were unable to rouse him they called an ambulance.

On Boxing Day Sam lost the ability to breathe by himself and doctors decided to undertake two tests to see whether he stood a chance of recovery.

However, he was unresponsive leading to his family being told the heart-breaking news that there was nothing else that could be done and his life support machine was switched off.

Mr Hasler thanked Alan Reynolds, the bailiff and Brian Jones, the owner, of Swangey Lakes for helping to arrange the memorial.

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