A BRAVE Burnham boy who has died after a two-year battle with a rare form of cancer has been described as a “brilliant, bright and positive young man” as heartfelt tributes are paid to him.

Joe Laoutaris, aged 12, who was presented with a Weekly News-sponsored Pride of Somerset Youth Award last year for his determination and strength as he faced his illness, died on March 8, having been diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma Tumour, a type of bone cancer, in 2013.

Despite many trips to Bristol for chemo-therapy, and waking up every morning feeling sick and weak, he wanted to show his friends that determination is the key and that “you should get stuck into things and do everything you can”.

Joe attended The King Alfred School, where head teacher Denise Hurr said: “We were all extremely sad to hear the news about Joe.

“He was a brilliant, bright and positive young man. His award at the 2014 Pride of Somerset Youth Awards was testament to his character and bravery throughout his illness.

“Our school is a community and we will look after each other, and work with Joe's family to celebrate his life and their wishes.”

During his illness Joe turned his hand to helping others by raising money in school through baking and selling cakes, non-uniform days and other events to help support Musgrove Park Hospital’s Oak Ward and Bristol Children’s Hospital, where he spent a large amount of during his treatment.

He attended school every day and gave an assembly to his year group to raise awareness and spread his message about cancer.

Speaking at the time of the Pride of Somerset Youth Awards last year, Joe's teacher Baylea Charles, who nominated his for his award, described him as “a delightful lad, an inspiration to us all – always smiling, bubbly, chatting and positive about everything, a credit to his family and we’re very proud of him.”

The King Alfred School will be working with Joe's family to organise an event to celebrate his life.

Fewer than 30 children in the UK develop Ewing’s Sarcoma each year.

It usually occurs in the teenage years and is more common in boys.