Family of Dylan Hockley return to Fenland for the first time since his death in US school massacre
- Credit: Archant
THE family of Dylan Hockley gathered in Eastrea for the first time since he was one of the victims of an American school massacre.
Six year-old Dylan was one of 26 people killed by gunman Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last December.
Dylan’s father Ian, who was born in Eastrea, his mother Nicole and his older brother Jake joined his grandparents and close family on a beautiful morning.
Ian said: “We are back for a week and will be heading down to Hampshire, where a day for Dylan is being held.
“There will be a big five a side football tournament and much more.”
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In the aftermath of Dylan’s death, his family set up the Dylan Hockley Memorial Fund, which supports children with autism and special needs.
Ian said: “We are working with schools to support children with autism. They often don’t have a lot of money so it is nice to be able to do something good and make a difference.”
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The family has been overwhelmed by the generosity of people in Whittlesey and Eastrea since Dylan’s death.
Ian said: “The coffee morning in Whittlesey was fantastic. There were so many people there and they raised a fantastic amount.”
Family member Todd Jackson, 22, of Whittlesey, has also got in on the fundraising act.
Todd completed the notorious Tough Mudder endurance event last month in Kettering, raising £1,130 for the Hampshire Autistic Society.
He tackled a 12 mile obstacle course designed by the Special Forces to push people to the limit.
Drenched head to toe in mud, he clambered over walls and swam through freezing water filled with electric currents, finishing in three hours and 45 minutes.
Todd said: “It was such a relief when I crossed the line. I got there on pure adrenaline. My body shut down but someone wrapped me up and gave me a pint, so I was all right.
“Getting electric shocks was what I was most worried about. You could not avoid them.
“The water was so cold I could not catch my breath. There was a guy next to me in a Superman outfit who froze.
“I had to help the paramedics drag him out of there.
“But it was a strangely enjoyable experience and I would love to do more to help.”
Ian says the last six months have been tough but he has been heartened by changes which have taken place since the massacre.
He said: “What we have had to go through, alongside the 25 other families who lost someone that day, is terrible.
“But we have seen so much good as well, so many wonderful things happening for our town.
“Changes are happening and people are now thinking more about topics like safety in schools and how we help people with mental health issues.”
To give your support to children with autism go to www.dylanhockley.com