On the one-year anniversary of the tragic murder of Lincoln schoolboy Alex Robinson, his family have released a tribute in his memory.
Alex, aged nine, died on December 23, 2014 after emergency services were called to his home on Pennell Street.
His grandfather Stewart Greene is serving 22 years in jail after pleading guilty to his murder.
Lincoln Crown Court heard in November how he drowned his autistic grandson as a “callous” act of revenge.
Ahead of an anniversary candle lighting in memory of Alex at St Peter at Gowts Church, his mum Joanne, dad John and grandmother Andrea have released the following tribute:
“It is now exactly one year to the day since Alex’s death and since our lives, and those of so many people around us, changed forever.
“There will always be a huge hole in our hearts that only Alex can fill but we are doing our best to remember our lovely and mischievous little boy with smiles and tears of happiness, rather than tears of sorrow and sadness.
“Christmas didn’t exist for us last year. We tried to keep it as normal as possible for Alex’s little sister Evie, who is now five, but we were all so absolutely shell-shocked and full of grief that it’s hard now to even remember what it consisted of.
“This year has been especially hard. Of course last year we had no idea what was going to happen two days before Christmas Day but now we have had the knowledge of the anniversary of Alex’s death approaching.
“It’s made so much more difficult to bear because this was Alex’s favourite time of year. He loved anything to do with mechanics and science and even lights – so all the lights around at this time of year really thrilled and excited him.
“He seemed to love the weeks running up to Christmas almost of much as he did the day itself. We would drive around so many different houses as their Christmas decorations went up so Alex could see the lights.
“It was such a lovely thing that we enjoyed doing together and something we will remember for a long time to come.
“He went so far as wanting one of those traffic light-style disco lights as a gift one year. He even asked for a street lamp another time!
“He was fascinated by science and mechanics and the way things worked more than he was the things you’d usually think of that a young boy would like.
“For example, he was fascinated by wind turbines and windmills. We took him to Yarmouth one year and on a boat trip to see seals, but as we were trying to get pictures of seals in the water Alex was so excited because he could get closer to the wind turbines along the coastline!
“He also knew all about trains, power stations and lots about engineering. He was as comfy talking to adults as he was to people his own age and had so many friends who miss him so much now.
“Alex loved Minecraft and Need For Speed on his Xbox and friendships were a big part of his life. At school he and his friends would point out fast cars from the playground.
“One of the best times he had, and something he talked about a lot, was when he went on a two-night residential trip to Freiston near Boston.
“Alex was unique and we all had our own special relationship with him.”
Alex’s mother Joanne said: “I try every day to remember Alex and keep his memory alive. There’s great comfort for me in riding the train, which is something I used to do with Alex. It’s like my time with him now.
“He was also a big Green Day fan and I’ve found listening to their music a big help, as well as going into Alex’s School, St Peter at Gowts, and reading to the children.
“My son was a unique and very special young boy. He could be cheeky and mischievous but never with any malice. I am so proud to have had him in my life for as long as I did.”
Dad John said: “I miss my little man so much and life just isn’t the same without him. Not only that, but Evie misses her brother and best friend.
“I was so looking forward to him becoming ‘double figures’ and him growing up to be my little man. Alex was so looking forward to me becoming 40 and found it highly amusing.”
Grandmother Andrea added: “Alex used to call me Mama, it just stuck from him being a little boy when he couldn’t pronounce Grandma and I have such happy memories of him calling me that and then asking a question which I would have to go away and look up! We are so lucky to have had him in our lives for the nine years that we did.”
Their joint statement continued: “We as a family would like to thank a number of people. Alex’s school have been absolutely brilliant. They have arranged a whole number of remembrance activities and events so the children can talk about Alex and it’s a real comfort to know how loved he was by so many at the school.
“The paramedics and the A&E staff who tried to help Alex were amazing. We know they tried their absolute best to save our little boy.
“We are really grateful to the investigation team at Lincolnshire Police, and in particular our Family Liaison Officers, and also Lisa from Victim Support. And also a huge thank you to everyone we know and even those we don’t who have sent us their warm wishes and condolences. It really has all helped us to get through this horrendous time.
“Life will never be the same again. There are some breath-taking moments of grief when you have to just pause for a minute to keep it all together. And Christmas will never be the same again.
“It’s been incredibly hard putting up all the decorations this year but we’ve been talking to Alex and asking him if it’s all okay as we go.
“The star on the top of the tree is for him and on a Fir tree outside we have put 1000 lights, we hope he can see it and know we’re thinking of him and love him.
“We’re so proud and privileged to have had our lovely, intelligent, fun, and mischievous little boy for as long as we did.
“It’s hard to keep going some days but we have to for Alex. Evie needs to know what a wonderful brother she had and we are determined to keep talking about him and remembering him to keep his memory alive. He is so missed and so very loved, and always will be.”
Joanne, John, and Andrea would like people to know that there will be a candle lighting in memory of Alex at St Peter at Gowts Church today (Wednesday 23rd December) between 10am and 12pm. Anyone who wishes to attend is welcome.