Teen writes song for friend who died of sepsis

Beth Zykowski

Beth Zykowski

The memory of a Wigan schoolgirl lives on through a moving song written by a close friend.

Jemma-Louise Roberts, from Whelley, was just 13 when she died of sepsis in March 2014.

Her friend Beth Zykowski has now written a song in memory of Jemma-Louise.

The Fred Longworth High School pupil met Jemma-Louise through Wigan Youth Band, where they both played flute, and they became good friends.

Beth, 15, said: “We were really close. We used to sit next to each other and always got in trouble for laughing.”

She wrote the song as part of her GCSE music coursework.

Jemma-Louise Roberts

Jemma-Louise Roberts

Beth said: “They said we could do a song ballad.

“I listen to a lot of Ellie Goulding songs. I knew Jemma was a fan of Ellie Goulding and it was in my head at the time.

“I thought I could get ideas from it and it would be a nice way to remember her.”

Beth started working on the song and soon managed to compose a piece.

We were really close. We used to sit next to each other and always got in trouble for laughing

Beth Zykowski

“I wrote down sentences and phrases and put them together in the verse and chorus. I put down how I felt and words that meant something,” she said.

Beth, who lives in Atherton, played piano on the recording of Jemma’s Song, while a teacher sang.

And once it was finished, she took it home to play for her family.

Beth’s mum Hayley said she was “quite emotional” when she first heard the song.

She said: “The impression I got was its feelings about missing someone who’s not there anymore and asking why and wondering where they are and what they are doing.

“It’s a personal thing. It’s how she felt. She was hit hard by it like a lot of people were.”

The song has been posted online on YouTube, accompanied by a selection of photographs.

And it has been shared with Jemma-Louise’s mum Diane.

She said: “I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s a lovely tribute to a friend.

“I know she has put a lot of hard work into it and because her and Jemma studied music together, I think it’s a beautiful gesture.”

Beth wrote the song last year and it has now been submitted as part of her coursework for GCSE music.

She faces a nervous wait ahead of results day next month.

Beth enjoys performing and hopes to study acting at Bolton College.

More than 40 friends and relatives of Jemma-Louise took part in the Manchester Color Run at the weekend for the third year.

They have raised thousands of pounds in total for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in her memory.