This Thursday, March 30th, marks one year since the world was forced to say goodbye to Tom Parker, after he lost his battle to cancer.
The Wanted singer was just 33 years old at the time of his death, when he sadly succumbed to a brain tumour which he had tirelessly tried to beat since he was first diagnosed in October 2020
Leaving behind his wife Kelsey Parker, 33, and their two children: Aurelia, three, and Bodhi, two, the grieving family have continued to find ways to immortalise Tom’s legacy as the cheerful and mischievous inspiration they knew and loved – all with a little help from Tom’s former bandmates.
So this year, on the first anniversary of Tom’s tragic death, we take a closer look at all the ways his friends and family have kept his memory alive, from touching dance performances to poignant tattoo tributes.
When the news first broke of Tom’s passing, some of the first voices to share their heartbreak were his bandmates from The Wanted, Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Nathan Sykes and Jay McGuinness.
Yet amid their devastation, there were also snippets of joy and fond memories as each band member recalled the enduring and heartwarming presence Tom had continued to be in their lives.
Reflecting on their first meeting, Jay fondly recalled: "Everyone remembers the day they met you. You didn’t slip into anyone’s life quietly, you hit them like a ton of bricks and looked them square in the eyes."
"You talked to absolutely everyone as if they were no more and no less than you. What a man.”
In a true testament to his warm and friendly demeanour, Jay also recalled how Tom had once “set him straight” and never failed to look out for his friend.
"You did amazing things. I just miss you. Thank you for always being there for me, without fail, always turning up, always looking out, always setting me straight lol. Ok enough. Give ‘em Hell,” he wrote in a poignant tribute.
"I love you forever, from JayBird.”
Behind the scenes video
While the world and those closest to Tom mourned his death, Tom’s bandmate Nathan Sykes tried to offer a small semblance of joy to those who missed him, by sharing a behind the scenes video of his cheerful and cheeky self just two weeks before his death.
Taking to social media to show the laughter filled behind the scenes footage from Tom’s final concert with The Wanted, Nathan wrote: ”I wasn't sure if I was going to share this video but I thought that some of you may take comfort in seeing so much joy in one place with a few additions that have definitely made me feel all kinds of emotions today."
"Tom was the most passionate, funny, driven and inspiring person you could wish to meet and I'm so grateful that I was given the honour of being a part of his journey, and even more grateful I can call him my friend as well as one of four brothers.
"He was the reason that the band came back together and the last 6 months have been the greatest pleasure of my life."
He concluded the post by writing: "Thank you Tom for bringing your light to the world. I hope we meet again one day, rest well, brother."
Max George opted for a different way to commemorate his close bond with Tom, and that was to have the late star’s birthday tattooed onto his chest on what would have been Tom’s 34th Birthday in August 2022.
Taking to Instagram to reveal the neatly written tattoo just below his clavicle which read: “04.08.1988”.
Alongside the ink work, Max also shared the reasoning behind his decision as he succinctly commented: “Happy Birthday brother…You’re always with me.”
Max previously spoke about his grief over Tom's passing back in June 2022 as he appeared on Good Morning Britain.
He said at the time: "Mentally I’m alright, everything’s fine. It’s more just the physical thing right now and the physical pain of not having [Tom] here. It hurts.”
Max continued: “That’s the only way I can describe it. “There’s nothing else to it other than I miss him.
“Grief actually is almost the physical pain,” he said. “It won’t go, and it’s there, and it throbs.”
Dancing on Ice performance
Bandmate Siva Kaneswaran meanwhile, opted to dedicate his performance to Tom when he reached the Semi-finals of this year’s Dancing On Ice competition.
Ahead of his performance, Siva told the audience in a short video clip: “In 2020, Tom got diagnosed with brain cancer. "
He then continued: "Tom’s diagnosis was Stage 4 Glioblastoma, which is a very aggressive cancer. The life expectancy is six months to a year.”
Reflecting on his friend's final few days, Siva then said: “When Tom was in the hospice, he had a lot of family and friends in the room, it kept him laughing all the way to the end.”
Before emotionally trying to piece together the words to explain how he was coping, as he added: "I’ve been trying to figure out the words to explain how I feel about him not being around, it’s hard. Really hard.”
Dancing to The Wanted song Gold Forever, Siva added that Tom was like a brother and the routine was for everyone who “knew and loved Tom” before he added: “This is for his memory.”
Siva then took to the ice with his partnerKlabera Kominito perform an intricate and emotional routine which didn’t leave a single dry eye in the house, all while an image of Tom was projected onto the background of the screen, to bear witness to the performance that was made in his honour.
As well as bringing tears to viewers eyes, it also struck a chord with the show’s judging panel, as all four judges awarded the duo 9’s – their highest score of the season.
Tom's widow Kelsey also came out to support Siva, as she sat in the audience with tears in her eyes to cheer him on throughout the emotional performance.
Another way that Tom’s nearest and dearest have continued to honour his memory and legacy, is by holding charity events, such as the one thrown by his wife Kelsey Parker last August to mark what would have been his birthday.
Rather than to allow his death to be in vain, Kelsey hoped to raise vital funds for the Ahead of the Game Foundation, which hopes to support others who are still battling the cruel disease which claimed Tom’s life.
Throwing a family fun day in Tom’s own beloved Petts Wood, the exciting day featured everything from cake stalls to raffles and bouncy castles and face painting – with a cheeky glass of Pimms thrown in for good measure.
Speaking about the motivation behind the event, Kelsey said: “This event is to celebrate Tom's legacy and his memory. We want to raise much needed funds to help others who are fighting this awful disease.”
“We aim to make a positive impact on people's lives when it is needed most.”
She then continued: “Tom lived in Petts Wood and to us it was home, Tom loved being part of the Petts wood community."
“I know that Tom would have loved to see the local community that he was a part of come out to support.”
Joined by a number of famous faces, including TOWIE favourite James 'Arg' Argent and EastEnders star Louisa Lytton, the day was a huge success and allowed more vital funds to be raised to support the charity that continues to help patients when they need it most.
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