Students will today wear white – the school’s formal uniform – to mark the death of 16-year-old James Webster, known to mates as “Webby” and described by his headmaster as a “wonderful boy and a great all-rounder”. The Year 12 student was out on leave from St Johns House on Saturday night when he was found. He could not be roused.
A post-mortem examination to determine how James died will be completed today.
The death follows recent high-level warnings over youth drinking – an issue addressed by friends and family on a special Facebook page dedicated to James. Donald Webster, who signed off as Uncle Donald, said it was “the saddest day in any family’s life”. “Why can a 16-year-old get so intoxicated without one of his mates realising and doing something about it?” he wrote.
“It is far too late to point fingers, but it is not too late to learn a lesson.” Mr Webster urged young people to look out for one another, saying: “As parents, we like our children to experience life, but we can’t, and we shouldn’t, protect you forever.” King’s headmaster Bradley Fenner last night described James’ death as “just a terrible tragedy”.
“The cause of death has not been determined. What is known is that he died in his sleep during last night. I don’t know the full details yet. I understand that he was at a friend’s birthday party earlier on the Saturday evening.” The death follows the non-alcohol-related death of King’s boarder William Thode, 15, in his sleep at school in February.
“I think after the tragedy earlier in the year we had hoped we wouldn’t face something like this again, and sadly this has occurred,” Mr Fenner said. School chaplain Warner Wilder said last night that he had been at the boarding house with the other boys. Last night, more than 700 people had joined the Facebook page paying tribute to James.
Diving buddy Jamie Rodriguez said: “So many times, we practised saving each other in the pool – wish I could’ve saved you last night. You are family James … Diving will never be the same without you.”