Mum’s heartbreaking tribute after teenage son ‘who loved life’ dies of rare disease

The mum of a courageous 14-year-old boy has paid a heartbreaking tribute to him after he died of a rare and incurable condition.

Layton Robinson-Bancroft, from Golborne, Wigan, had spent five years battling the symptoms of a mitochondrial disease – but always managed to have a smile on his face.

His mum Stacey Burtonwood told the Manchester Evening News he’d even smile during hospital appointments and anyone who met him loved him.

She said Layton was born visually impaired but it was not until he was around eight years old that he began to be repeatedly sick and became so tired that he could no longer walk, leading doctors to diagnose his condition.

Over the next six years he was regularly in and out of hospital when symptoms flared up but his mum said Layton never let the horrific disease get the best of him.

Sadly Layton passed away on Thursday, January 21, surrounded by his family at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

“He was always smiling, nothing ever bothered him, even when we would go to the hospital nothing would ever phase him,” Stacey said.

“Everybody that came into contact with him absolutely adored him. When I took pictures of him for Facebook if he knew he wasn’t smiling on one he would make me retake it because he wanted to smile.

“If I was sat there on my phone and I pointed it towards him he thought I was taking a picture so he just used to sit there and smile.

“He absolutely loved his life, he loved being at home and I couldn’t go anywhere without him.

“If he knew I was going out he would always come, he didn’t like being away from me. He absolutely adored me and I adored him.

“He was so brave, he took everything in his stride and nothing seemed to phase him.”

Layton, a former pupil at Hope School in Wigan, loved to play video games and watch superhero films.

When the severity of his condition became clear, local people began to offer support to the family, fundraising for everything from a birthday party to trips abroad.

“The whole community where we live has been so supportive, when Layton was diagnosed they did a lot of fundraising for him so he could have a wishlist,” Stacey explained.

“We went to Disneyland Paris, we went to Florida, he met some lovely celebrities who came to the house.

“Everyone rallied round, he had a big massive birthday party that cost a fortune, everyone’s was always amazing to us and they’ve been amazing since he passed.

“Everyone’s so deeply affected by it around here.”

Layton was especially close with his family, which included mum Stacey, stepdad James Burtonwood, his siblings Tyrese, Logan and Tillie, his dad James Bancroft and his wife Michelle as well as their daughter Mya.

He also loved his pet dog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Oreo, and Stacey says her son would often be desperate to get home from the hospital just so he could see his pet.

Layton’s funeral will take place in Golborne on February 10 and residents around the area are planning to come out to see the procession pass.

Stacey has published the route which the procession will take on Facebook and has asked anyone who would like to come out in support to make sure they observed social distancing.