Tributes paid to Attleborough teenager

The family of an 18-year-old who died suddenly after falling unconscious on Christmas Day have paid tribute to their 'friendly' and 'popular' son.

Sam Hasler's life support machine was switched-off two days later after doctors at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital failed to find signs of brain activity.

He had appeared to fall asleep on the sofa that evening but the alert was raised when his family could not rouse him.

Despite suffering no symptoms apart from a headache and sickness, a post-mortem revealed that the Norwich City College student had died from bronchopneumonia and sepsis.

His parents, Phil and Kerry Hasler, of Hammond Way, Attleborough, are now trying to come to terms with how they came to lose their fit teenage son in just a matter of days.

Mr Hasler said: 'He hadn't got a cold or a sniffle – nothing. People with pneumonia usually have cold symptoms. He was fit as a fiddle. It was a big, big shock and a big loss.'

Sam grew-up in Gressenhall, near Dereham, and attended Litcham High School. His family moved to Attleborough five years ago and he transferred to Attleborough High School. He had just started his second year on a brick-laying course at Norwich City College and had plans to be a property developer. His biggest hobby was fishing which he enjoyed most weekends.

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'He was a very popular lad, very friendly. We used to call him the gentle giant. He thought of everybody else before himself. Sam was a big lad, over six feet tall, quite big built. Sam was the protector, he was just a lovely lad,' said Mrs Hasler.

Sam has two brothers – Ben, who turns 21 tomorrow, and Joe, 11.

His funeral will take place on Friday at Earlham Crematorium at 1.30pm. Flowers or, if desired, donations for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) may be given at the service or sent c/o and payable to W.C. Littleproud & Son (donation account) Family Funeral Directors, Hale Road, Bradenham, IP25 7RA.