A HEARTBROKEN youngster battled the grief of losing his little sister to star in a show - and dedicated his performance to his sibling.
Zach Smith, brother of Gabi who died in a drowning accident last Saturday, showed tremendous courage by insisting the show must go on in her memory.
The 16-year-old had spent months preparing for his lead role in youth group the Uncut Project’s stage version of Narnia, at Ecclesall All Saints Church, Sheffield.
Cast and crew prepared to cancel the run after news of 12-year-old Gabi’s death reached them.
But Zach was determined to do as his sister would have wanted - and played Peter Pevensie in her honour.
Each night the performance was dedicated to Gabi, a pupil at Notre Dame High School in Ranmoor.
Gabi’s mum Faye Smith said: “Anyone who missed the production of the musical missed an enormous treat. It was in every way magnificent. I would like to thank each and every member of the cast and production team, and the Uncut leaders, who showed such care for my son.
“The love and support he gained from all those involved, especially other cast members who had also been bereaved, has undoubtedly helped him to start to deal with our loss.
“We pay tribute to the faith, courage and kindness of all our friends and church family at Ecclesall All Saints and my own church, St Thomas Crookes and Philadephia, for the outpouring of care and practical assistance we have received. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.”
Gabi’s funeral will held at Zach’s church, All Saints Church, Ecclesall Road South, tomorrow, Thursday at 2pm.