HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a young man who fought a brave year-long battle with cancer.

Will Clark, 23, of Springfield Lane in Marford, died of a lung infection at Christie Hospital Young Oncology Unit in Manchester on Monday.

His father Trevor, 66, has spoken of his son’s determination after he was diagnosed with leukaemia at Wrexham Maelor Hospital a year ago.

He said: “This is the spirit of William – his determination – his will for it to be eradicated.

“The first day he was told – within the first five minutes of shock and maybe a little misunderstanding of exactly what was wrong with him – his immediate reaction was ‘okay, let’s get on with it, get me cured’.

“He fought for everything and his will was amazing.”

Mr Clark added: “Your loved ones in circumstances like this can fall about. We didn’t, because of Will’s strength.

“His strength and determination gave us so much positivity. He was just amazing.”

Will, who worked at the Marks & Spencer Customer Sales and Service Centre in Chester for two years, attended the Christie regularly during his illness.

Mr Clark told how Will, a former pupil of the Darland High School in Rossett, was in remission in January, February and March of this year, but tests in Easter revealed the cancer had returned and evolved.

He had more chemotherapy after Easter for about five weeks and  then came home for his birthday before returning for another two months of chemotherapy and recovery.

Will developed sepsis and was in intensive care for eight days with a further three weeks in recovery, but he was later deemed a match for a stem cell transplant.  

His mother, Carol Marigold-Clark, 59, said a test revealed that the cancer was “stronger than the chemotherapy” and doctors placed Will on palliative care in August.  

When Will felt well enough, the family tried to fill his time with experiences, such as going to see Newcastle United or rugby matches.

Mrs Marigold-Clark said Will told his close friends personally of his condition when he went into palliative care.

“He was very brave,” she said.

“It was important for him to tell them. He was more worried about everyone else being upset.” 

Will did a BTEC in business studies at Coleg Cambria’s Yale campus in Wrexham and a plumbing course at the Bersham Road campus in the town.

He was a keen sports fan, who supported Newcastle United, enjoyed skiing and played at Wrexham Tennis Centre and Gresford and Marford Tennis Club.  

Will qualified as a referee at around 18 years old and refereed Saturday games in the Wrexham area.

He also spent three summers working at Phantom Lake YMCA camp in Wisconsin, USA, where he was known affectionately as ‘William Wales’.

His mother told how Will did his lifeguard tests there, introduced the youngsters at the camp to rugby and handball and particularly enjoyed working with the ‘Magnificent Sevens’ group of seven-year-old campers.

“He had this zest for life. He had this ability to communicate, to connect with everybody,” she said

He was also a keen music lover and was a big Daft Punk fan.

His sister Victoria Marigold-Clark, 33, said: “He never, ever moaned about any of the treatment he was getting or how rubbish he felt.”

Will is also survived by half brother Gary Clark, 40; half-sister Lisa Clark, 43 and grandmother Julia Marigold.

His funeral, which his mother said would be a celebration of his life, will be held at Pentrebychan Crematorium, Wrexham, at 2pm on Friday, November 10.

A big turnout is expected for the service and Victoria asked those who attend to wear bright colours in Will’s memory.

His ashes will be scattered at the grave of his grandfather, Victor Marigold, and also at Maes y Pant Quarry in Gresford, on Mount Snowdon and at Phantom Lake.

Shortly after Will was diagnosed, a group of his friends had their heads shaved and raised £2,200 for the Anthony Nolan Trust. 

Friend Joe Hughes, of Holt and Dave Jones, of Gresford, will run the Snowdonia Marathon on Saturday to raise funds in aid of the Christie, and a Just Giving page has raised £3,000 so far.

To support the pair visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joe-hughes11.

Another friend, Dan Bellis, said: “He touched the lives of so many people. There’s nothing bad to say about him.”

After Will was diagnosed, Victoria embarked on a campaign to encourage more people to sign up to the DKMS stem cell register, which can be viewed at www.dkms.org.uk/en.

She said she had succeeded in getting about 200 people to sign up with the #iwill campaign.