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'Our hearts are broken into a million pieces' - mum's tribute as Norwich musician loses cancer battle

PUBLISHED: 08:38 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:09 29 March 2019

Billy Clayton from Norwich at Latitude 2018.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Billy Clayton from Norwich at Latitude 2018. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

The heartbroken mother of Norwich musician Billy Clayton has posted an emotional tribute after he lost his long battle with cancer.

Norwich musician Billy Clayton, pictured with his mother Becky Lawrence. 
Photo: supplied by Becky LawrenceNorwich musician Billy Clayton, pictured with his mother Becky Lawrence. Photo: supplied by Becky Lawrence

The former City of Norwich School pupil was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma - an aggressive form of bone cancer - aged 18.

In August last year he shared his moving story of what it was like to live as a 21-year-old with the disease and his three-year battle against it.

He spoke of the mental and physical toll it had taken, but said his love of making music and creating art had kept him going through the toughest of times.

A campaign was launched to raise £200,000 to pay for life-saving treatment abroad for Billy, who was from the Oak Street area of Norwich, and the city’s music community rallied behind the fundraising to help one of their own.

Tonight his mother Becky Lawrence posted a heartbreaking tribute to her beloved son on social media.

She said: “On Tuesday 26th March at approximately 5pm, my darling beautiful boy Billy had to go to his new home in another realm.

“He held on for so long and had more strength than anyone could ever imagine. But his body would no longer allow him to live the life he so desperately wished for and his soul needed to escape to be free.

“People like Billy are rare jewels and the earth doesn’t have many of them. When these precious jewels come to visit us from time to time, it is clear to everyone who comes into contact with them, just how incredibly special they are and how brightly they shine. 
“Billy was indeed one of these rare jewels. He was always completely unique form the moment he was born and he saw the world differently to how most do.

The artwork for Billy Clayton's single Fear, which was released in December, 2018. Photo: Billy ClaytonThe artwork for Billy Clayton's single Fear, which was released in December, 2018. Photo: Billy Clayton

“He was deeply sensitive and caring yet also hilariously funny.

“His ability to speak in almost any accent was legendary. He was a wonderful and supportive friend who always gave the best advice to those he loved, even if he was suffering himself. He brought light to so many people.

“Billy was, and always will be, one of the most genuinely talented and special people ever.

“Throughout the extremely difficult times, which he had no choice but to endure, Billy passionately created his music and art and never stopped believing that he would achieve anything that he wanted.

Norwich musician Billy Clayton was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma - an aggressive form of bone cancer - aged 18. 
Photo: Rebecca LawrenceNorwich musician Billy Clayton was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma - an aggressive form of bone cancer - aged 18. Photo: Rebecca Lawrence

“It was crystal clear to everyone who knew him that he was a true star. Billy’s music and art will and must live on, he wants to be celebrated for this and deserves to be known for his talent.”

She said that Billy had always wanted to visit Los Angeles and she and Billy’s girlfriend Jenny are hoping to visit in his place and meet the people there who have supported him.

She added: “Our hearts are broken into a million pieces and I have no idea how I will manage. But I know he is with me and with all of the people who loved him.

“I was honoured to be Billy’s mum and will be forever and ever and again, next time round.

Let's Eat Grandma members Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth with Billy Clayton at the Billy Clayton Fundraiser at Epic Studios. PHOTO: Sophie SmithLet's Eat Grandma members Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth with Billy Clayton at the Billy Clayton Fundraiser at Epic Studios. PHOTO: Sophie Smith

“Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported us, your love means so much.”

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