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Family Vows To Complete 17-Year-Old's Life Ambitions 'Bucket List' In His Memory

30/09/2011 13:26 | Updated 22 May 2015
Family vows to complete 17-year-old's life ambitions 'bucket list' in his memorySWNS

James Woodall, 17, died after he collided with a car at a junction as he cycled to college.

His life was cut short tragically, but now his family is trying to fulfill his life ambitions.

Two months after he died in hospital, James's parents Ian and Clare found an 18 item 'bucket list' entitled 'living a full life'. The heart-rending list was in a notepad in his bedroom drawer.

James had only crossed off 'getting a Saturday job' so his family have now set themselves the challenge of completing the 17 other tasks in his memory.

His unfulfilled dreams include 'getting married', 'visiting every continent', 'saving a life', 'inventing something useful' and 'learning a foreign language'.

James' mother Clare, 49, who lives in Wimpole, Cambridgeshire, with husband Ian, 50, and his sister Natasha, 21, have described finding the list as both 'heartrending' and 'lovely'.

Clare said: 'James was always a very private person and he didn't tell anyone he had written a list.

'It was quite heartrending to find it but at the same time a lovely thing to read because it's like having a part of him with us.

'We are not sure how we are going to achieve all the things on the list yet but it will be lovely for us to complete them as a family.

'We would also like people who knew James to step in and help us complete them and his friends have been amazing and want to join in.

'I found his list in one of those spiral note books. I was just flicking through when I found it and I didn't know what I was reading at first.

'He was such a lovely boy and things are still really difficult now - we miss him so much. Finishing off his list will help us all as a family.'

James was a straight-A student at the prestigious Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge, and raised funds for charities when not studying.

He died at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge on March 7 this year, after his bicycle collided with a car at a junction near Orwell, Cambridgeshire.

James' mother Clare discovered his 'bucket list' at the bottom of his bedroom drawer in May.

He ticked off the first item on the list 'getting a Saturday job' after landing his first job at his local Tesco store, where his older sister Natasha, a student, works part time.

James' father Ian said he was 'proud' of his son and 'inspired' by the list.

He said: 'When we found the list there were tears because there were so many beautiful dreams James would never achieve.

'That list is inspiring us as a family. We want to complete the list he never got to do.

'In the end that is what made it even more upsetting: what could have been had he lived.

'We miss James hugely but we are doing our best to look to the future and make the best of life to come.

'It makes us proud that we had given him the right values and proud to see a 17-year-old thinking of the planet, not just himself.

'There were lots of things on it that a typical teenager would choose, like getting a signed shirt of his favourite team - Tottenham Hotspur - go diving, bungee jumping and learn to breakdance and visit every continent.

'But there were also some much more profound sentiments including help save the planet, invent something useful and save a life.'

The family have so far taken in Diana Markovich, seven, from Belarus, for one month as part of the Friends of Chernobyl Children Melbourn charity, which James raised funds towards.

But the family plan to spend the rest of their lives fulfilling James' wishes - and are even planning to celebrate what would have been his 80th birthday in style.

Mark Bennett, James's cousin, has also raised £600 for a charity in memory of James by completing a half-marathon.

'LIVING A FULL LIFE': JAMES'S LIST OF AMBITIONS

1. Get a Saturday job (Crossed out)

James worked at Tesco supermarket with his sister

2. Make bank account for 'the dream'

James never discussed 'the dream' with his family but his parents and sister plan to raise money for the charities he fundraised for.

3. Live 'the dream'

James's family believes 'the dream' was the list of things he wanted to achieve.

4. Learn a foreign language

James's family hopes one of his friends will volunteer to complete this challenge in his honour.

5. Get married

James's sister Natasha will dedicate her wedding to him when she gets married.

6. Get a football signed by entire Spurs team

James's dad Ian is a keen Tottenham Hotspur supporter and plans to contact the club.

7. Visit every continent

The family hopes friends and extended family will help them complete this challenge although James had already crossed off 'North America'.

8. Write a song: music and lyrics

James's mum is currently composing a song to be played on piano and is requesting help from a lyricist.

9. Go skydiving and bungee jumping

This challenge will be completed by the younger members of James' extended family.

10. Go to Download or Sonisphere festivals

James' friends will complete this challenge.

11. Learn the guitar

James's family are asking volunteers to complete this task.

12. Help 'save the planet'

James's family hope his friends and relatives can fundraising for scientific projects.

13. Invent something useful

No current plans

14. Look through a telescope at every planet

James's family plan to borrow a telescope and tick off the planets.

15. Live to 80

His family will celebrate on what would have been his 80th birthday.

16. Learn to breakdance

The family hopes friends and extended family will help them complete this task.

17. Save a life

James's sister is currently learning first aid. His eyes were used to save the sight of four people.

18. Find faith

James's family believe that he has found faith and is in heaven.

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