Tributes to Murdered Thames Valley Teen
17 July 2011, 08:24 | Updated: 3 August 2011, 15:11
More than 9,500 people have paid tribute to a Thames Valley teenager stabbed to death on the Greek Island of Zante.
It's reported 18 year-old Robert Sebbage from Tadley near Basingstoke was with a group who were shining laser pens at taxi drivers at the island's popular Lagana resort.
Two drivers have been arrested following the incident.
Four of Robert's school friends who were also there are said to be in hospital recovering from injuries that are not life-threatening.
They have been named in reports as Robert's school friends Jordan Manson, who was left with serious knife wounds, Samuel Champion, Steven Granston and Callum Lane, all 18.
All were former pupils of Hurst Community College in Tadley.
Headteacher Malcolm Christian told Heart:
"All at the Hurst Community College were saddened to hear of Robert's untimely death. He held a special place in our hearts for the way in which he had fought hard to overcome a significant medical condition when he was younger.
"We remember the many friendships he had created, his quiet tenacity in overcoming adversity and how well he achieved with us at GCSE level prior to going on to sixth form college."
Friends have created a tribute page on Facebook to the teenager who listed his interests on his own page as being a keen fan of Reading FC and the bands Oasis, Kasabian and Kings of Leon.
A statement released on behalf of the Sebbage family by Hampshire Police said:
"All these young men are very close friends.
"They are simply just a bunch of nice lads and this is their first holiday abroad and they had all gone just to enjoy themselves.
"Those lads that will be returning home ask that they be left alone to recover from their injuries and grieve the loss of a friend.''
Hampshire Police have told Heart they are liaising with the Sebbage family on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
In 2007, Robert was chosen to be a mascot for the England team in a friendly against Brazil at the new Wembley Stadium and posed for photos next to David Beckham.
Aged 14 at the time, he was picked by the Rays of Sunshine charity because he suffered from a bowel disorder called Eosinophilic colitis and gut dysmotility.
The condition meant he had to spend much of his life with horrendous stomach pains and feeling sick and led to him having part of his intestine removed.
In his letter to the charity asking to be the mascot, Mr Sebbage, who played for Tadley Calleva Youth Football Club, wrote:
"I love football; my life has always revolved around it.
"I used to play every day at school and was once good enough to have trials at county level.
"Playing football made me feel alive. I feel angry, frustrated and depressed that I can no longer take part in the one thing I love.
"However, I will never give up on supporting England. It would be a real dream come true for me just to wear the England kit and walk out of that tunnel as a mascot for my team.''
He was a season ticket holder at Reading Football Club. The club's manager Brian McDermott expressed their sadness at the loss:
"It's very difficult to even talk about. He was only 18 years old and a big Reading fan. It's awful, everyone just feels for his friends and family. Of course we send our deepest condolences on behlaf of everyone connected with the club."
On hearing the news about Robert, Rays of Sunshine CEO Jane Sharpe told Heart:
"We are devastated by the tragic news of Robert Sebbage. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family at this heartbreaking time.
It was our privilege to have met Robert when we fulfilled his wish to be mascot for the England football team when he was 14. Robert battled with his illness for many years, only to have his life stolen from him in such a cruel manner.
"We will always remember Robert’s pride and excitement as he stood alongside David Beckham. Our thoughts are with his parents and family."