Thanksgiving of Joe







£4033.93 was raised for leukaemia research from the collection at the service in exchange for a balloon!



Sue Males - Mummy

Sue’s speech



As a family, we thought Friday 13th January 2006 was the worst day of our lives – this was proven not to be so.


After being in remission after his first course of chemo, we were all so positive – not least of all Joe. He had determination to get through his treatment & on with the rest of his life – after all, he was a busy, busy boy with so many plans.


If any obstacles got in the way of his recovery, he never moaned & winged, he would figure a practical way round them & just get on.


As a toddler, Joe had inherited my impatience. He was a typical boy, always up to something & never ever kept still.


From the age of about 3, it was clear that Joe’s future was going to be in construction. Once we’d channelled his energy in to something positive, that was to be the beginning, of everything he loved - being busy, being outside & rummaging through Dave’s garage.


From an early age, he’d be badgering Dave to see what work he had lined up for Saturday saying he needed to plan his weekends & he looked forward to the money he would earn through this & later on, a Sunday paper-round.


He loved going down to his Nanny’s & helping her in her garden & then, when he was 14, through working with Dave, he got to know John Beckwith or John from River Court as he always says when he phones. Despite the big age gap, Joe & John became great friends & Joe used to love going round on Saturdays or in the school holidays to work in John’s garden, whilst John cared for his wife.


Joe had planned his own garden for the coming year, dug his plot, & in January, put up extra shelving in the greenhouse to accommodate his seedlings.


Only 2 weeks before he relapsed, he’d asked Dave to get some wood so he could edge his garden from the lawn.

He’d cut wood to make pegs, & nailed them to the edging before fitting around his garden.


Joe had many nicknames, mostly from Dave; Joey, Fred face, Jobey, Spike, Steamer, & then one day, after skidding on our kitchen floor & falling in the cat food – he became known………………. as Felix……


Joe was a homebird who liked his home comforts – a real softie. Many times I’d say to him, ‘Joe, why don’t you phone up one of your mates & go out somewhere?’ – he rarely did but when someone called & asked him to go out, he would always ask if it was OK to go – he never just took it for granted that he could go without asking.


We have always done everything as a family. In recent years, whenever we’d been out for the day or maybe just for a meal in the evening, Joe would always say – ‘thanks Mum & Dad for taking me out’ – & we’d say – ‘Joe! you don’t have to keep thanking us’ – being with Joe was just such an absolute pleasure………………


As Joe got older, Dave knew him so much better than I did, but during the last 15 months I got to know him like never before & I will always be grateful for the quality time we spent together.

We didn’t wrap him in cotton wool & say he couldn’t do things because of his illness. We tried to encourage him to lead as normal a life as possible.



Joe was very determined. He wanted to make the right career choice as he’d missed out on work experience last year, so he’d planned a week with Thompson’s Builders for the Easter holidays to try plumbing & carpentry before accepting a 3 year College course in construction.


He knew what he liked & only the best was good enough. Sometimes we’d go out shopping & look & look but he was so particular. I’d wonder what was wrong with certain things that looked perfectly trendy to me – but no - Joe knew what he liked & wasn’t bothered about the cost – if he liked it, he pay for it.


His goal was to work hard, save hard & one day, get a house along the Broadway.

We drive by on our way to Addenbrooks & he’d say, ‘one day you’ll be visiting me along here’ & I’d just smile & say…… Yes sweetheart I know I will – you reach for the stars my darlin……..

In the early hours of Friday morning, the day he passed away, it was obvious the disease was overpowering Joe’s ability to fight.


I knew Joe could hear me. I sat & talked & held his hand for a couple of hours & told him that we never, ever wanted him to leave us but we couldn’t bear the thought of him suffering.

He was born on a Friday & I’d like him to go on a Friday instead of battling on till Mothering Sunday as we’d originally thought he’d planned.

In true Joe style, he didn’t let us down…………..he did as he was asked…………….



At last count, we’ve received 195 sympathy cards, some from people we don’t even know but who have followed Joe’s story through the newspaper. This is testament to how highly regarded Joe was for his courage & bravery at such a young age.


Anyone who had the privilege to know Joe would tell you he was bright, kind, thoughtful & polite but most of all, in his last 15 months, he was inspiring.


Not once did he ever complain. Throughout it all, he was an absolute star! He kept his thoughts on what was happening to him to himself, most probably so as not to worry us.


I truly believe, even if he had known the outcome, his determination to have quality time with family & friends would have been the same.


He touched the hearts of so many people & had so much to give for everybody - regardless of age – from infants to the elderly.


For us, nothing will ever be the same without Joe in our lives.


16 years of wonderful memories, Joe’s sparkly eyes, & gorgeous trademark smile, will help keep Joe fresh & alive in our minds forever.


This is, undoubtedly the worst thing a parent ever has to do for their child, but today & for the rest of our lives, it is an honour to say Joe was our son, brother & very, very special friend….





Ellie Males - Younger sister



Where do I start?I could talk all day about you.

When I am with you, I just want everyone to know that you are my brother and I that I am so proud of you.

I try not to be sad, because I know you would want us to keep smiling and remember all the happy times we shared.

I have so many memories of all 3 of us when we were younger like the time when one of Jess’ ‘cool’ friends was coming round and me and you thought it would be a good idea to embarrass her and get her babyish reading books, colouring books and pencils out and leave them on her desk so it looked like she had just finished colouring and rushed out. That stills brings a smile to my face every time I think about it - the way we were so stupid and immature – but it was funny!


Or the summer days when we used to get the sheet of plastic out and soak both  the plastic and the slide with water and go down the slide onto the plastic and skid along on our bare bums – they used to get quite sore after an afternoon of that! But when you didn’t want to go completely naked, you borrowed one of mum’s thongs so u could still pick up the slippery speed.


Something that I will remember forever is filling up big balloons with water and popping them over each others head and filling the swimming pool on holiday with water bombs and having a huge water bomb fight.


I always used to lock you in my bedroom and sit by the door so you couldn’t get out, but Joe, that was because I loved spending time with you and didn’t want you to leave, which I never want you to do.


I know everyone says it, but it’s true… You are gorgeous and if I wasn’t your little sister then I would fancy the pants off you!

You are so thoughtful with everything – from everyday life to the presents you buy people.


I’m going to miss you so much Joe, I really am. I can’t imagine what the rest of my life will be like without you. You are the bestest brother anybody could ever ask for and nobody could ever replace you. I think about you every minute of everyday. When I look up into the night sky, all I can see is you. You are the brightest star up there shining down on everyone. I thank the person that decided I should have such a loving kind and generous brother such as you and I feel so lucky and privileged to have been able to share the 14 years of my life with such a special person like you.


I love you Joe sweet dreams






Jack Bottesch - Friend


My Tribute to my friend Joe


This is my tribute to my friend Joe. I first met Joe when I left Ickleford primary school and started at the Priory school.


Like all young boys moving onto big school, for the first time I remember talking to dad about how that I was worried about finding a friend, his advice to me was look for the tallest and biggest boy and make him my first friend and that’s the reason I am standing here today.


Little did I know at the time just how strong this friendship would become.


Joe and I had something very much in common, but our problem was reversed, I had two older brothers who were always ordering me about but never using the bathroom, where as Joe had two younger sisters who he would always complain they were always in the bathroom tarting themselves up. Another problem was that he was tall and slim, while at that time I was short and fat.


We went through our early school years being the typical kids we were, mischief was never far away, only good harmless fun such as writing on a dirty white van of which the words I cannot repeat in the house of God. (Of which I can now reveal, he used to write 'I wish my wife was as dirty as this'!!)


Even at a young age Joe was always interested in following his father’s footsteps and entering the construction industry, in fact every weekend, wherever Dave was, you would usually find that Joe wasn’t far behind and this was his destined future.


In my opinion Joe had the best type of sense of humour, taking the mikey! He was very good at playing jokes on people was Joe, I went about a year without going for an eye check-up and so Joey would be there in science constantly reminding me that I couldn’t see a thing on the board, he would get these huge letters and shout ‘Snob what does this say’ obviously I couldn’t read a thing on it.


I finally got my glasses, hoping that as I could see clearly, nothing more would be said… but how wrong was I! One night I got a text saying ‘Oh no snob you will never guess what, I went for my eye test and they said I have got to wear glasses for a few months, how embarrassing’ he said.  That next morning he sat there… in science next to me, and squinted at the board… ‘Oh I can’t quiet read what that says, let me put my glasses on’ and out came these geeky, magnified glasses!



Though I must admit, I wasn’t really a good influence on Joe… as a pair unfortunately a lot of people fell into our mikey trap, sorry Adam, but ‘Get off me you child’ does come into mind.


I apologize to Mr Wilson for having to say this, but it was well known for Joe to do a brilliant Irish accent. Joe did like the subject Electronics, but when he knew Mr Wilson wasn’t around he would come into the room shouting in perfect Irish ‘Sit down and shut up’ and everyone who was chatting would turn around panicking until they realised it was Joe.


You’re probably wondering where the word ‘Snob’ came from, well to be honest, me and Joe have called it each other for so long now, I wouldn’t really know. He knew I loved my gadgets and so when he caught me with them, that was it I got the nickname snob… but then when going round his house and realising how posh that was, the tables turned!


No one could ever forget Joes smile. He would come into a room with that great grin and the whole room would warm to him. His smile got him into a bit of bother this one time actually, we were on a train on the way to Stevenage and there was a large Caribbean lady on the other side, she must have been at least 35 and she had her small daughter with her. I noticed Joe smiled at her lightly, but that cheeky charm of his gave him a bit of a surprise. As we got off of the train, she comes up to him and says ‘here’s my number, call me’ I had never seen him so speechless before!


He always had that charm with the ladies; I got a text on Valentines Day asking me to go on some blind double date with these two girls. No way I thought, but then I got another one begging me to go, so I thought ‘ah why not’. Well I got there and both girls were nice, but it was just typical that Joe would get the best one!


Joe would always go to a lot of thought and effort when buying birthday or Christmas presents. Because he knew just how much a snob I was, come my 16th birthday, and there is this Harrods bag with this perfectly wrapped present, but his Christmas idea for Adam was the best, which was perfectly planned, he got me to order the present online under my mum’s name.


Let’s just say, the advertisements that the company send through our letter box every month is very different to what we are used to! Oh and the card, he stole some of Jesses perfume, sprayed it all over, got me to put on some lip balm on and kiss it! (The present by the way... was an edible thong!)


January Friday 13th was a dreadful day when sadly Joe was first diagnosed with 2 types of leukaemia. Most people of that age would have buckled and given in that day, but not Joe. He had an incredible inner strength to fight this disease.


During this period of recuperation we spent many hours talking of the future, we talked about the first cars we were going to buy, the school prom outfits we were going to wear and the stretched limo we were going to arrive in.


When Joe was told that both types of the leukaemia had returned and that there was nothing further that they could do, in true style Joe and his family started to plan of all the things that Joe wished to do in the short time that he had left.


His fight and determination shined through on the go-karting track where Joe fought his way into the finals and won.


Even in the final stages of his illness he still had the determination just to do that one thing more.


Joe was a great brother who loved his sisters very much. When ever I was with him he would always want to check that they were ok and he would never be ashamed to admit how much he cared for them.


Although Joe did like to have his jokes, he was actually the nicest person I have ever met. He always put others before himself, never selfish, bitter, or speak bad of anyone. Joe will never be forgotten, he has touched and inspired so many lives.


Unfortunately Joe lost his battle on Friday 16th March and as I end my tribute to Joe, as I mentioned earlier we had talked of our hopes and dreams and one thing we had talked of was which pub we were going to have our first legal pint in.


These dreams and hopes have now been shattered. Someone once said that there is no Joe without a Jack and no Jack without a Joe, but Joe will always be up here, and in here.


I would like to ask all of you in year 11, on you’re 18th birthday to raise a glass and make a toast and say ‘This one’s for you Joe.’





Mr T. Wilson -  Head of year 11 + Joe's electronics teacher




Seeing the church full today is a wonderful tribute to Joe and his family.  May I begin with an apology, that despite practising , I can’t quite manage that Irish accent as well as Joe. 


For those of you who are not aware, both of Joe’s parents, David and Sue, attended Bessemer/Hitchin School where I taught many years ago.   I did not teach David in those days, but I wasn’t that fortunate with Joe’s Mum!  She proved herself to be a very determined young lady;  not afraid to voice her opinion when needed.  This determination showed when she sneaked Joe away from hospital for an hour on many occasions so he could come home.  Seriously though, she was a delight to teach and all her children have followed the good example set by both their parents.


In January 2006 Joe was diagnosed with two types of leukaemia.  Even though many of us know the family, I am sure you will agree how courageously they dealt with the news and the long tedious months of treatment that followed.  This was recognised by the North Herts Young People of the Year Award which was presented to Jess, Ellie and Joe’s friend Jack.


During his treatment Joe did not fall behind in his coursework and we would meet when possible to discuss his progress.  Right from the beginning of Year 10 Joe showed a tremendous ability in all aspects of Technology, which came as no surprise to David, as Joe always wished to follow in his father’s footsteps.


Above all, his determination in problem-solving with circuit construction was incredible, and Joe would often pop his head into the classroom the following day with that lovely big smile that said “I got it to work, sir”.



Also, in Resistant Materials his practical skills knew no bounds and to quote Mr. Barnes “with every new process undertaken Joe quickly mastered the skills to produce a quality table for his GCSE coursework.”  In the workshops, he would often be seen leaving his own work, when needed ,to go and help his fellow students.


Joe also completed a high quality Electronics project in record time and in due course will be awarded A* in both these subjects. Joe received a Headteacher’s Commendation for Outstanding Achievement, and this was presented to him at home by Mr. Loach.  There will be an annual award of the Joe Males Trophy for Excellent Achievement in Technology, and I would love Sue and David to present this in the future.


These grades, coupled with passes in English Language, Literature, Maths, Double Science and ICT are a tribute to Joe who, due to his illness, only managed one full term in Year 10 before he returned in Year 11 on a reduced timetable .


In memory of Joe’s outstanding achievements in both Electronics  and Resistant Materials, as the Technology Block is refurbished, a corner of my teaching room will display his GCSE coursework to inspire others.  As he also enjoyed gardening, the redevelopment of the space in front of the Technology Department will become “Joe’s garden”.


On a recent visit to Joe after the diagnosis that leukaemia cells had been found in his bone marrow, he sat calmly with me on the settee, after eating his bacon sandwich, at the table of course, and with his usual smile, discussed his wish list for the next two weeks.  In school his closest friends busied themselves with finishing the Year Book in record time and it was a joy to see the photographs of the wonderful days Joe had with his family and friends.  The school also produced a CD of songs dedicated to Joe which has so far raised £1,500,  which will be sent to the Leukaemia Research Foundation at Addenbrooke’s Hospital as requested by Sue and David.



During the times that I visited Joe, his home was always upbeat and happy and it is remarkable that he never mentioned his illness or the unfairness of it all.  In all my years of teaching the students of Hitchin, Joe has proved himself to be one of the best.  We have dedicated our Year Book of 2002 - 2007 to Joe – a courageous boy who is always smiling;  a welcoming smile that will stay with all who have had the privilege of knowing him. 


On Friday 16th March I visited Joe in his bedroom and we were all aware that there was not much time left. As we sat and chatted about many happy times, David recalled the night when Joe did the price list for this project, which I hadn’t even mentioned to the rest of the class.  Later, as I reached and said goodbye to Joe, his right eye partly opened and I knew Joe had heard every word.  When I returned for the afternoon, Year 11 double Electronics, one of Joe’s favourite lessons, he was marked present as his spirit came with me.  After school his closest friends sat with him in the bedroom for one final time before the angels called.


The following Monday we held a special Year 11 assembly for Joe which was attended by his family.  As we played the song “The Rose” my able assistant, Adam, organised a presentation displaying the fun times Joe had in his final two weeks.  The bravery and support shown by Joe’s family helped to make this an uplifting experience for us all.


I recently learnt from Sue that after our assemblies Joe would sometimes come home and enjoy saying “would you like to hear some of Mr. Wilson’s wise words?”  May I leave you with these thoughts of Joe.


“When tomorrow starts without me,

Don’t think we’re far apart,

For every time you think of me

 I am right here in your heart”. 


Your spirit will be with me always.



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