FRIENDS of a Hampshire schoolboy gunned down in the Newtown school massacre are planning a sparkling fun day in his memory.
The Hub in Bishopstoke will be transformed into a colourful and vibrant focal point for a day of activity and entertainment to remember young Dylan Hockley.
The six-year-old, who grew up in Eastleigh, was one of 20 pupils killed when a crazed gunman went on the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the United States.
The announcement of the event comes as the US senate blocked a move to tighten gun laws in America.
Now friends of the schoolboy’s parents have started planning for a major event called “A Day for Dylan” in June.
As well as remembering Dylan, the jamboree will also raise money for Hampshire Autistic Society.
The youngster was diagnosed with the condition while living in England.
As previously reported, a picture of Dylan is being used to drive home the human cost of the tragedy in December last year and to help in the campaign for tougher gun controls in the country.
Dad Ian, who moved his family from Hursley to America when his job was transferred to New York, said he was delighted to hear about the summer fundraiser.
He added: “We are deeply honoured that this event is being run in memory of our beloved son Dylan.
“He was a wonderful boy, and with the excellent support of his educators he was making great progress at school and overcoming his challenges.
“We are excited that the money raised from this event will give other autistic children the opportunity to develop to their full potential.
“I want people to celebrate life at this event, both Dylan’s and the lives of all our children that are precious to us.
“I want them to understand the challenges that having a child with special needs brings for a family, but also the joy if you embrace that and see the world through their eyes.
“With the right support – like Dylan was receiving – then amazing results can be achieved.”
From midday on June 29, The Hub will be filled with stalls, competitions, taster sessions, dance exhibitions and raffles.
There will also be a ticketed evening event for 250 people with live music, an auction and a BBQ.
Organiser Lin Trott, a friend of the family, said: “Dylan lived in Eastleigh until he was five, and his family had links with many of us in Hampshire.
“He was a joy to be around, had a loving nature, a smile that could light up a room and an infectious laugh.
“He loved the colour purple and always looked for the moon at night.
“After returning from Dylan’s memorial service in America, I had a strong need to do something practical in Dylan’s memory.
“Dylan was autistic, and he would often flap his hands when excited.
“When asked why he flapped, he said he was “a beautiful butterfly,” this is why the purple butterfly motif is at the very heart of this event.
“We want this day to be a celebration of his short life.”