James' parents: We don't blame anybody

By Rachel Tiffen

Charles and Penny Webster. Photo / Dean Purcell
Charles and Penny Webster. Photo / Dean Purcell

The parents of a King's College boarder who died after binge-drinking vodka outside a party want people to learn from the tragedy - and they don't blame anybody.

Charles and Penny Webster are devastated by the loss of James, 16, but yesterday reiterated they do not bear any ill will towards those who looked after him on the night he died.

"There are always questions, but they never intended to criticise them," said James' uncle, Donald Webster, speaking to the Herald on their behalf.

"I do think that as a society, we need to know better how to deal with these things.

"In these circumstances, when a kid is off his face, staggering around, collapsed, comatosed, don't try to fix it ... dial 111 and get them out of there."

On the night, James was helped by a parent of one of the hosts who works for the police but is not a sworn officer.

He drove James from the party at the Grey Lynn RSA to the home of another parent. The teen was checked throughout the night but could not be roused in the morning.

Today, the Websters will focus on remembering the good times with their younger child, known by mates as "Webby", at a funeral at King's.

About 1000 people are expected to pack the chapel - where James was learning to play the organ - and spill into the Great Hall and lecture theatre, where the service will be projected on to screens.

"The first hymn we will sing was going to be his first hymn [on the organ]," said chaplain Warner Wilder. "It will be fairly early on; it's called Immortal Invisible."

James' sister Emily, 17, a member of the St Cuthbert's College Saints Alive choir, will sing a duet with Andrea Kapeteni.

The housemaster of St John's House, where James boarded, will speak and boarders will sing Tears In Heaven.

- NZ Herald

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