Tributes to brave cancer victim

Tributes were paid yesterday to a 26-year-old who died after a lifetime's battle with kidney disease.

Tributes were paid yesterday to a 26-year-old who died after a lifetime's battle with kidney disease.

Greg Smart, from Bungay, was diagnosed with nephrosis at the age of two and despite a childhood filled with hospital visits suffered from kidney failure at the age of 14. Since then he had spent three days a week on dialysis at the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston.

But his illness took an increasing toll on him, and he had been seriously ill many times and was having difficulty walking.

The former Bungay Middle and Bungay High pupil was remembered by his mother yesterday as “a well-loved, kind, generous young man,” who fought bravely against his illness.

Sheila Smart, 63, said: He fought against it all the time. He wouldn't let it get him.”

His sister Debbie Burlingham, 32, said: “He knew everyone in Bungay. Everyone said he was lovely. His friends loved him to bits.”

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It is the second time the family has been hit by tragedy after losing Greg's father, William, to heart problems when Greg was 13. It was a blow that was difficult for him to deal with when he was having constant medical treatment.

In March last year Mr Smart moved into a flat of his own in Harleston and had been widening his circle of friends. He enjoyed going out with them and also loved rap music and driving his car, a soft-top Volkswagen Golf. But he still returned to his motherwhen he felt under the weather.

Last Sunday he called his mother and said: “I am feeling ill, I'm coming home.”

Mrs Smart said: “He got here and he could hardly stand. He threw himself on the sofa and just crashed out. He said 'Quick, get my nebuliser,' but that didn't help him. He said 'Mum, I am going to die,' and I said 'Don't say that.' But I knew he was really ill. I just knew. He was cold and clammy and his eyes were rolling.”

She called for an ambulance but there was nothing that paramedics could do to save him. A post mortem revealed no cause other than his existing illness.

Mrs Smart said: “They said it was probably his body gave up, and he was so weak. His heart couldn't take it any more and gave up.”

He will also be missed by his mother's partner Paul, his brother-in-law Terry and his three nephews.

The funeral will be held on Thursday at 11.30am at Emmanuel Church in Bungay.

His family has expressed a wish to see as many of his friends as possible there.