‘He’ll be with us’: Mum pays tribute to tragic son ahead of inspirational Future Perfect music festival for cancer

By Neil Robertson

‘The most inspirational lad I have ever met’ is how the mother of a tragic cancer victim described her son, as a festival in his memory takes place in Manchester on Monday.

Linda Wyatt paid tribute to her only child Lee, who died of bowel cancer in 2010 aged 25, prior to music and art festival ‘Future Perfect’.

The festival, which takes place at Castlefield Arena, is in aid of The Christie in south Manchester, the largest cancer centre in Europe.

Lee, a music composer and producer, set up the festival in 2007 – before he knew he had the terminal illness.

Music was Lee’s life, claimed Linda, who praised his resilience and strength of character.

“Where do I start about Lee?” she said.

“Lee’s motto was Carpe diem (seize the day) and that’s what I’ve got on his headstone. He lived every single day like it was his last.”

“He was just a pure delight, such a hard worker. He was a straight-A student and he was a real good lad.”

According to the festival’s website, Lee used music ‘as a form of escapism to help him cope with the most difficult and darkest days imaginable’.

Lee’s fighting spirit in the face of adversity, Linda says, was what made him so special.

“I do not know to this day where he got his strength from.

“He said ‘if I’ve made my friends and family happy, I will have succeeded in life’.”

“He never, ever let the cancer dictate to him. He always dictated to the cancer.”

Lee was misdiagnosed on five different occasions, before being diagnosed with bowel cancer.

This was hard to take for Linda, but it did not stop her fighting to make Lee’s last days on earth enjoyable.

Linda arranged a special surprise for Lee’s 25th birthday, allowing him to meet his hero, comedian Russell Howard.

Such was the impact of Lee’s story, Howard dedicated a “Good News” edition of his TV series to Lee on the week that he passed away.

Since then, ‘Future Perfect’ has gone from strength to strength, with Howard headlining the festival in 2011.

And although Lee will not be at this Monday’s festival in person, Linda says he will be there in spirit.

“I just know Lee will be there on Monday, he’ll be with us and he’ll be rocking Manchester like he always did.

“He loved Manchester, he was Manchester born and bred.

 “If he could see what this festival has become, he would be absolutely thrilled.”

The festival will feature a variety of entertainment such as art exhibitions, magicians, rock bands, choir singers, comedians and a bouncy castle.

Cleo Higgins, lead singer of pop girl group Cleopatra, who enjoyed some chart success in the late 90’s, will sing a memorial song to Lee.

At the festival, Linda will hand over a cheque for £10,000 to The Christie, in aid of cancer research.

One of the festival organisers Georgina Hoult, who was a close friend of Lee’s, said that the festival was very close to her heart.

 “My motivation was the fact that Lee was my friend and I wanted to do something that honoured his memory,” she said.

“Members in my family have had cancer, and I’ve lost friends to cancer, which is why I wanted to get involved.”

“I believe in the power or art and music, so that was another big motivation for me.”

Her memories of Lee were very fond ones.

“I think the best way to describe Lee was live life to the full.

“He was a very creative person.”

Ms Hoult said the human element of the festival makes it appeal to so many.

“It’s about bringing people who have had similar experiences together.”

“Some people performing have got cancer, some people at the festival have lost family members and friends to cancer.

“It basically draws people together who have the same experiences.”  

‘Future Perfect’ takes place at Castlefield Arena on Monday, from 11:00 – 21:00 and features local acts and up-and-coming artists.

Under-12s get in for free, while adult tickets are £6.00 for Advanced Sales and £8.00 on the door.

NHS Staff tickets are £4.00 for Advanced Sales and £6.00 on the door.

To purchase tickets, call 0844 884 2920. Lee’s music, which he composed while battling cancer, can be heard here:

Picture courtesy of Future Perfect, with thanks.

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