‘Devastating’ death of Joe, just 17

17-year-old Joe Roberts-Anderson who tragically died following a kidney transplant.
17-year-old Joe Roberts-Anderson who tragically died following a kidney transplant.

A POPULAR teenager from Scarborough has tragically died just a month after he had the operation which he thought would save his life.

“Fun-loving and caring” Joe Roberts-Anderson, a 17-year-old student at Scarborough Sixth Form College, suffered from a degenerative kidney disorder from birth.

He was overjoyed when he learned that a transplant organ had been found and the operation initially went well, but it is believed that Joe reacted badly to anti-organ rejection drugs.

They caused inflammation and bleeding in Joe’s lungs, and although he battled bravely for four weeks, he passed away peacefully in the early hours of yesterday morning at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds, with 30 loved ones at his side to give him all their support in his final moments.

An overwhelming number of tributes were being paid yesterday, as heartbroken friends, family members and his girlfriend struggled to come to terms with the news of Joe’s death.

His step-mother, Jane Anderson-Hawkes, said: “He would light up a room. Joe was a friendly, bright and happy lad. It is such a waste of a life. We bounced into the hospital when we heard he was getting the operation. When he came round afterwards he was fine. Nobody really knows what went wrong.

“He fought back so many times - we were told on four or five occasions to expect the worst. We had so many ups when we thought he was going to come through it.

“We’d like to thank our friends and family for the way they’ve rallied round over the past few weeks.”

Joe’s older brother, Robbie Hawkes, described him as “the nicest kid you could ever meet” who “didn’t have a bad bone in his body.”

He added: “Joe said he wanted to go on to be a nurse. I used to take the mick out of him for it, but it was the type of lad he was - he was always caring.

“He’d always had to have check-ups and take medication because of his kidneys, and was having eight hours of dialysis a day in the months before the operation. You would never have known though, he just got on with life.

“We were all over the moon when we heard he was getting his kidney transplant. We thought he would just go on to lead a normal life like everyone else.

“None of us thought this would be the outcome when he went in for his operation. It’s just horrible. We’re devastated.”

Joe was taking A Levels in sociology, science, psychology and biology at Scarborough Sixth Form College.

He previously attended Raincliffe School, where he gained “outstanding” GCSE results, and Wheatcroft School.

Sixth Form College principal Tom Potter said yesterday: “Joe was an incredibly popular student who was exceptionally well thought of by students and staff alike.

“He was always cheerful, a natural leader in groups and conversation. Joe made the most of every day in college and was making good progress with his A Level studies.

“Joe was considerate too, for example when asked over his health he always also enquired of the health of the person asking.

“His positive and optimistic attitude quickly won hearts and he was much loved by many in the college; he is sorely missed.”

Mick Jolley, who was Joe’s headteacher at Raincliffe School, said: “He was a positive, go-getting person who made the most of every opportunity provided by school.

“He will be highly missed. Our condolences and thoughts are with Joe’s family and friends at this time.”

His English teacher of four years, Jolene Doody, described Joe as a “cherished student and wonderful person”.