Thursday, 17 April 2014

A Tribute to a Superstar

On 22nd October 1994 a superstar was born who inspired everyone he met with his passion for life and cheerful attitude. Andrew was a one-off, an incredible young man who may have appeared to have many problems but tackled everything head on with that trademark beaming grin. We could learn a lot from his approach.

Andrew's prom picture

Andrew was a wee fighter from day one. Born at 26 weeks in a dramatic emergency caesarean, he then spent his first three months in the hospital being fed via a tube. However, he couldn't wait to get home with his mummy and daddy and it wasn't long before he started drinking his milk. This led to his mum advocating letting him chew his food, despite the advice of health professionals who wanted to keep using the tube.

At age three Andrew enrolled in the nursery class at Stanmore House School, a place where he would remain for the next sixteen years and which we believe helped mould him into the remarkably gifted child he became. His local authority wanted him to enrol in the local special needs school, but this didn't offer the specialist one-on-one input that Stanmore could provide. This also entailed a move from Cumbernauld near Glasgow to the Lanarkshire countryside.

School picture aged 6
During his long tenure at Stanmore, Andrew made many friends and was hugely popular around the campus. He learnt to make clear choices and made great strides in his communication through strong vocalisations and expressions. He also got to go on exciting adventure holidays and threw himself into all activities. In recent times, Andrew was investigating the use of Eye Gaze technology which would have allowed him to utter sentences by picking out words with his eyeline. He would have used this at Beaumont College, where he had been accepted for a place to start in September 2014 (he was due to start in 2013, but our local authority failed to come through with funding for his care - we had already garnered the funds for the education element through the Friends of Andrew McNaughton campaign).

All in all, Andrew was an incredibly hardworking young man who did not let anything hold him back and there is no doubt that had he completed his college course, he would have been equipped with a set of skills that would have let him enter the workplace in an area like film editing, his chosen field of study at Beaumont.

Andrew with his baby sisters - Eve (top),
Hannah (left), Emma (right)
It still feels unreal that Andrew is not with us - he was the centre of the family and at the forefront of every decision we made. The house we lived in was built for Andrew, so we have since had to move. There were so many funny things about Andrew - he was fiercely protective of his three baby sisters and ensured they were completely ruined by sticking his bottom lip out and whining if they ever got a row!

Andrew's legacy, that you can do anything you want to do despite apparent limitations, is a powerful message that deserves to be heard far and wide. We have already used some of the money we raised to help other worthy local causes, such as a young boy with autism who has had a sensory room built where he can relax when things get too much.

We love you Andrew - here are some more fantastic pictures. Andrew loved the camera, and never took a bad photo!

Andrew with his Mummy at Centreparcs, summer 2010
In Friends of Andrew McNaughton t-shirts
With baby brother Cameron, 2009
As a scary surgeon at Halloween!
On a speedboat at Strathclyde Park, summer 2009
Andrew after his operation - diplomatically
supporting both Celtic and Rangers!

53 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is a wonderful tribute to your son, Nick. He was an amazing young man. He put to shame anyone with an excuse.

Mel said...

Beautiful piece, Nick. I'm sorry for your loss.

L.G. Keltner said...

This is a beautiful tribute, and the pictures were wonderful. Thank you for sharing this with us.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Such a brave young man and an example to us all.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

This is lovely, Nick. Thank you for sharing some of your memories and photos with us.

loverofwords said...

What a smile Andrew had. I am sorry that you lost your son, Nick. Your photographs tell of an amazing life that he had, but also the story of all those who loved him.

Lara Schiffbauer said...

I love the pictures and seeing Andrew's smiling face. I'm so sorry for his passing.

L.G. Smith said...

Beautiful tribute, Nick. That smile! He inspired people he never met. :)

Lynda Dietz said...

What a beautiful, sweet boy you had. You were blessed.

Lara Lacombe said...

My heart goes out to you and your family--I'm so sorry for your loss. Andrew sounds like an amazing soul.

Michael Di Gesu said...

A loving tribute, Nick.

Andrew will always be with you in your heart and of those he has touched. ALL of us in the blogosphere included.

We all loved Andrew...

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

What a lovely tribute to someone who sounds like such a gift to the family. What an inspiration to know someone like him. My condolences for your loss. I know you will always treasure the blessing of having had him for the time that you did.

Kyra Lennon said...

A perfect tribute to your superstar. All of those photos show you made some amazing memories together - ones you will never forget.

Clare said...

A beautiful tribute to an amazing young man. I'm sorry for your loss, Nick, and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Much love to you all.

Ava Quinn said...

What a beautiful and amazing young man who left the world with a triumphant message. You must be so proud.

I'm terribly sorry for your loss.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Beautiful tribute, Nick.

Nicki Elson said...

Hi Nick. It's nice to see you back on the blog.

I'm glad Andrew loved the camera, because he says so much through it---all the things you say about him here, it totally comes through in his smile. He may have only had a short stay on this earth, but his impact was huge. I'm glad that through you, I got to know him just a little bit. Thanks. :)

Nicole Pyles said...

What a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing this.

Steve MC said...

Thank-you for this post. I've thought of Andrew since his passing and wondered how you and your family were doing without his light in your life. But it's still there, of course, along with all he taught you, as this tribute shows.

Wendy said...

Such an enormous loss. Heartbreaking.

cbwentworth said...

Your son made this world a beautiful place. I feel so privileged to know his name and catch a glimpse of his soul. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Trisha F said...

Andrew is definitely an awesome inspiration and he set a great example for anyone who wants to make excuses for why they can't achieve great things.

A lovely tribute, Nick! May Andrew RIP.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - wonderful to see you here again telling us more about Andrew - he certainly inspired.

It seems you as a family are continuing on his inspiring work by helping others .. that is wonderful to see ..

It seems like you're slightly more settled having moved and I hope that is so - with many thoughts - and a peaceful blessed Easter - Hilary

Melanie Schulz said...

What an amazing young man!

Nick Wilford said...

Thank you for the kind words, everyone. I'm getting very emotional reading them all. It's so clear that Andrew touched so many hearts, even those he never met.

Shell Flower said...

It's nice to hear more about Andrew and his shining spirit. We are all inspired by Andrew's ability to stay positive and persevere despite his limitations. He really is quite photogenic--what a smile!

Are you still doing editing services? I have a friend who is looking for an editor and remembered my blog post about your editing, which is why I came over to your blog today. So glad to see you posting again :)

Cynthia said...

This is a beautiful tribute, Nick. Again, I'm very sorry for your loss.

Heather Musk said...

This is a wonderful tribute to a truly inspiring personality. So many of us can learn from his brilliant example.

Nicole said...

Nick, this is beautiful! I am so sorry for your family's loss. Please know that Andrew's spirit inspired me, and I'm sure so many others!!

J.L. Campbell said...

It is clear that Andrew was a special person who inspired those around him.

Jean Davis said...

What a beautiful tribute. Sorry for you loss.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Love his beautiful smile!!! His attitude was amazing! Thank you for sharing this wonderful tribute.

Suze said...

In tears by the end of this post. Nick, this was very moving. Thank you for posting this tribute.

Annalisa Crawford said...

A wonderful post for a wonderful young man. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Sherry Ellis said...

Andrew was a very special young man! Beautiful tribute to him!

Heather Holden said...

So, so sorry for your loss. Andrew clearly had an amazing spirit, and it's inspiring to see how much he was able to accomplish...

kmckendry said...

This is a beautiful tribute. Andrew was such a special young man and has touched so many of us throughout the world. His character shows through in that lovely smile of his.

Teresa Cypher said...

Nick, I am so, so sorry for your loss. I had no idea. I came here to leave a note, and to check on Andrew's progress with school issues. He was an amazing kid. My heart is breaking for you...

Jay Noel said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful tribute to Andrew. May you and yours continue to inspire others through him.

Meradeth Houston said...

Such an inspiring post! I can only imagine how hard it's been for you all, but it warms my heart to see what you've been able to share from your experiences and love!

Crystal Collier said...

What a sweet post. I can feel how wonderful Andrew was just through the images. He reminds me in some ways of my special needs brother, also passed away. They may leave our sight, but they never leave our thoughts or hearts, eh?

Thank you for sharing Andrew with us.

True Heroes from A to Z

Denise Covey said...

Nick, what a great tribute to a little fighter. How delightfully he looks in these photos. What loving memories you must have. We'll all remember him!

I hope your grief is bearable most of the time.

Denise x

Christine Rains said...

What a marvelous tribute, Nick. Love those photos!

Melissa said...

What a wonderful post, Nick. Andrew is an inspiration.

Glad to see you back on the blogosphere. You and your family have been in my thoughts quite often.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Nick, what a wonderful tribute to your son Andrew. Andrew will always be an inspiration to all of us.

M Pax said...

A touching tribute, Nick. Hugs to you all.

Al Diaz said...

Incredible tribute, Nick. We will always remember such a strong young man and that wonderful smile of his. He taught us a lesson of life, indeed.

J.L. Campbell said...

It would be impossible not to miss Andrew considering his strong personality and big impact.

Michelle Wallace said...

What a wonderful tribute Nick.
I'm keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers.
Thank you for sharing this.

Krista McLaughlin said...

So beautiful Nick. Andrew really was a wonderful guy and he lived a happy life! It's a great tribute to him. Thanks for sharing it with us. :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Such a special guy. I love the smile, you can tell he had a special heart. May your ,memories and all the good he taught you warm your heart until two great men meet again one day. Hugs for you and your family.

Rachel Morgan said...

What an awesome tribute post to Andrew :-) Thank you for sharing these photos and his story. You and your family will always have these wonderful memories of him.
xx

Cara H said...

What a fine person. The world was blessed to have him in it.