‘He was perfect’ - parents pay tribute to 18-year-old who died after falling ill at Latitude music festival

Ollie Towler-Jones Ollie Towler-Jones

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
1:01 PM

Like thousands of other music fans, Ollie Towler-Jones was looking forward to seeing headliner Damon Albarn at this year’s Latitude Festival.

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But within hours of complaining of feeling unwell, the 18-year-old was rushed to hospital, but passed away as a result of a suspected blood infection.

The parents of the Norwich teenager spoke of their devastation last night following the death of their only child and paid tribute to a “perfect” son who was “adored” by many.

The teenager, who lived off Earlham Road, in Norwich, and worked as a junior developer for a local IT company, was enjoying his sixth Latitude festival and had been camping on Henham Park, near Southwold, since Thursday with a group of around 15 friends.

After watching Rudimental on Friday night, the music fan woke up on Saturday with a headache and feeling sick, which he thought was a hangover. By 4pm, his friends realised he was seriously ill and was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital by the East Anglian Air Ambulance just after 5pm. At 8.16pm, he was pronounced dead.

His mother Jo Towler, 42, said it was believed that her son had picked up the blood infection whilst on “the best week of his life” holiday with friends in Malia, in Crete, Greece, which he returned home from on July 9.

She said her son had been a big music fan and liked listening to Gorillaz, Foals, and Crystal Fighter. Ollie had been looking forward to Damon Albarn’s performance on Saturday night.

“He was perfect. There was not a bad bone in his body and his friends were absolutely heartbroken. You could not have met a nicer bloke. He was into all sorts of music and always had his headphones in listening to music. He was looking forward to the Gorillaz set by Damon Albarn.”

“He was well loved and very handsome and never hurt a soul and never got in trouble. He was the most beautiful and special person and he was adored by a lot of people,” she said.

Mrs Towler, who had been staying on a separate part of the Latitude site at the weekend, was contacted by one of Ollie’s friends at about 4pm on Saturday saying her son was in the medical tent.

Ollie, who was born and raised in Norwich, went to Avenue Junior School and City of Norwich School (CNS) and had been halfway through a two year IT apprenticeship at Norwich software development company Purple Tuesday.

As well as his music, Ollie loved playing his Playstation 4 and games including Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. He was also a fan of television shows Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones and enjoyed skateboarding.

His father Marc Jones, 40, said they could not fault the response of the emergency services, including East of England Ambulance Service paramedics, East Anglian Air Ambulance medics, and staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

“They said it was a massive infection in the blood. Coming back from holiday until the Saturday morning, he was fine. On Saturday he started to feel unwell and in a matter of hours he had passed away.”

“They tried everything they could and we would like to thank the medical crew. We would like to say a big thank you to the ambulance crew and all the medical staff at Latitude and the staff at the Norfolk and Norwich. They were amazing and did their best,” he said.

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