Brave Earby boy (16) dies of rare skin condition - tributes

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THE family of a brave Colne schoolboy who lived with an agonising skin condition all his life have paid tribute to their “cheeky chap” who passed away last week.

Park High School pupil Scott Eley (16) died at home surrounded by his family.

He suffered from a rare condition called Epidermolysis Bullosa which left his skin as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and easily blistered with any knock or bump.

Mum Elaine and Dad Frank of Alder Hill Croft, Earby, said he always faced his condition bravely. Elaine said: “He took everything in his stride and never complained until he was in so much pain. He had a wicked sense of humour and packed more into his life than many who have a lot longer do.”

Doctors realised Scott had the genetic condition when he was born with the skin missing from one foot. His parents had not known they were carriers of the faulty gene.

Over the years the condition worsened as more areas of his skin became prone to blistering. He courageously put up with the agonising process of dressing and bandaging his wounds daily, said to feel like third degree burns, and once an injury occurred it would take a long time to heal.

Elaine said: “It is the most horrendous illness imaginable, internally as well as externally. He was on a liquid diet as he couldn’t swallow solids and we couldn’t take him out in the wind as his eyes would blister. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”

Despite his illness, Scott lived life to the full, excelling at school. Last summer he gained GCSEs in Maths, English, Science and Graphics and in October was presented with the Matthew Hardy Memorial Trophy for exceptional progress and the Rolls Royce Trophy for Design Technology. His headteacher, Dr Paul Parkin, said: “Throughout his time at Park High School, Scott was an inspiration to pupils and staff. His positive outlook during his time with us is to be commended. Scott showed an eager keeness to learn and despite the pain he suffered he continued to work extremely hard as his condition worsened.

“Throughout the time we knew Scott he was never known to complain and he had a ready smile for everyone. His courage and constant cheerfulness in the face of his continuing illness was an example to all and he was a huge credit to Park High School.”

Scott’s friends and teachers have helped him to raise money for the charity DebRA, which carries out research into the disease and provides families with support.

Scott loved taking part in his family’s big passion for motorbikes and watching grand prix races. As with everybody he met, Scott touched the heart of champion rider Neil Hodgson who was in regular contact with the youngster. He would send Scott helmets and souvenirs from races and once took him for a spin in a Ferrari,

In the New Year Scott was admitted to Airedale Hospital and transferred to Leeds to treat a number of infections.

Elaine said: “The hardest thing as a mum was that I couldn’t give Scott a hug when he was in pain. But he liked to be stroked and have gentle massages.”

Scott’s funeral will take place on Monday at All Saints’ Church, Earby, from 1-15 p.m. followed by cremation at Skipton. The family has requested everyone wear bright colours.

The family have also asked that any donations in Scott’s memory be made to Martin House children’s hospice or the DebRA charity fund.