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‘Nick did good’: Tributes paid to UEA student Nick Sadler

‘If you got to know him, you were the luckiest person in the world’


Tributes have been paid to Nick Sadler after the tragic news that the UEA third year's body had been recovered from the lake last Tuesday.

To remember and celebrate Nick's life, his friends have shared stories about him with The Norwich Tab.

"If you really got to know him, you were the luckiest person in the world" says close friend Michael Howard. Of all the stories friends have shared about Nick, one theme recurs again and again – Nick had a cracking sense of humour.

Nick's housemate Ashleigh Gormer, who he had lived with since his foundation year, speaks of the pranks they would play on each other. One of their housemates would prank Nick by taking all the labels off his tin cans and Nick would play along, saying: "Hmm wonder what I'll be eating today!" He would shake the can then eat whatever mystery substance came out of it, whether that was baked beans or custard.

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Nick with his close friends

Nick was also a prankster himself, Ashleigh recalls when her and Ayesha – another housemate – went out for the day, thinking the clothes they had left out would be left untouched, only to be sent a photo of Nick posing in front of a mirror wearing them. No boundaries were a step too far in this household.

Then there was the time Ashleigh left her room for two minutes and came back to this:

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Master of disguise

Ashleigh mentions the time at the Harry Potter Studio Tours when Nick got told off for giving Buckbeak the middle finger. Wizarding etiquette dictates you bow respectfully to him- not to mention there were kids watching. But even on less exciting days Nick would make everything a little funnier. Ashleigh and Nick used to have day trips to B&M because even something as seemingly mundane as that "would be so much fun with Nick there."

Another friend, Amelia Trew, says: "When he started laughing literally everyone would laugh". His infectious laugh and brilliant sense of humour has made the last few weeks without him exceptionally hard for those close to him but they note that the support they have received from friends, acquaintances, and strangers has helped a great deal.

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Friends are thanking everyone for the support

Nick's sense of humour was also apparent in his writing, with comical stories and reviews he wrote on his blog, NickDidGood, and as part of his course. Although these amused his friends, his flare for comedy did not go unnoticed by the university either. Sarah Barrow, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities says, "One of Nick’s loves was writing, an area where he displayed real talent, in particular for writing comedy."

Continuing the message of Nick's helpful character, she also says: "In writing workshops he was eager, enthusiastic, and generous, always supportive of his fellow students’ writing. His own work was consistently engaging, inventive, and entertaining, earning top marks and praise from his instructors."

Friends describe him as "a bit of an old lady" with his cross-stitching hobby and love of cats. He would frequently make incredible cross-stitch pieces for his friends when they were feeling low or just as a sweet surprise. He once cross-stitched individualised pieces onto t-shirts for the group of friends he had since his foundation year; a group they called the "Foundation Five."

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The Foundation Five with their cross-stitched t-shirts

Nick's close friends also commented on his thoughtfulness and unwavering support when they were going through difficult times, saying, he "always knew what to say when people were down." Ashleigh recalls a time he made a self-help kit for her and Ayesha when they were struggling. This kit included chocolate, CBT information sheets, useful quotes, and cross-stitches (of course).

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A cross-stitch Nick created for a friend going through a difficult time

James Treadwell, one of the "Foundation Five", describes Nick as "entirely selfless." He continues, "I have suffered myself from quite dark depression in the past and he really helped pull me through and keep me going. He would always spare a thought for his friends and he will always be like a brother to me."

Willow Bleaken, a friend who played video games with Nick reiterates his kind nature. "He was always incredibly supportive and keen to ensure I and all of his friends were alright. As clichéd as it sounds, he honestly was a ray of sunshine that lit up every room. There were days for me when I would feel very low and just being around him would help lift me back up."

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A photo from Nick's final night, the house had made doughnuts and played games.

Michael says: "You didn’t have to pretend to be normal around Nick, you could be whoever you wanted to be" as he speaks of the trip they went on to visit another one of their "Foundation Five" on his semester abroad in Amsterdam. He notes that this was Nick's first holiday abroad and feels lucky to have shared that experience with him.

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The Foundation Five hit Amsterdam

A friend notes: "He devoted so much time and energy into making other people happy, used all his energy and strength to look after everyone else, he forgot to look after himself." Perhaps at the moment more than ever, we should be inspired to look out for our friends and help them when they are feeling low in the same way that Nick did with his friends, but also taking care of ourselves as much as possible.

Michael reflects on Nick as "one of the best parts of life." Whilst Willow states: "I miss him terribly and find it hard to accept I will never be able to thank him for how much he has done for me. We all love him so much. Nick did better than good."

There are plans for a memorial to take place by the lake or in The Square to provide students with the opportunity to remember Nick's life, however, there is not yet a date confirmed for this.

Student Support Services (SSS) are available if you are struggling on: 01603 592761 or email [email protected] Alternatively, you can contact Norwich Nightline between 8pm to 8am every term time night on 01603 597158.