TRIBUTES have been paid to a 15-year-old boy, who died due to a lifelong heart condition.

Ben Boon died on December 11 following complications after his fifth heart operation.

He pseudomonas sepsis and died two weeks after a 14-hour operation, at Southampton General.

His mother Amber Hulmes told the County Press: "Ben was born with a heart condition — aortic stenosis and bicuspid valve.

"He had his first operation at nine months old followed by another operation at four. He had two operations in 2014.

"He had his fifth operation in November and was in Southampton for two weeks when he lost his battle.

"Ben loved Star Wars and had a Star Wars send-off when the Isle of Wight Garrison joined us to follow his coffin.

"Ben was part of a big family, with two brothers and a sister. He was a fighter and never let anything get in his way.

"Ben will leave a big hole in everyone's lives. He was loved by all who met him, including the staff on Ocean Ward at Southampton General where many of the team have cared for him since he was a baby."

Ben was a Ryde Academy pupil who loved learning about sound and lighting, as his ambition was to be come an electrician.

The Sandown community is pulling together to fundraise for a headstone and memorial bench in memory of Ben.

A fundraising Big Dip into the sea near Sandown Pier is taking place on Sunday, February 2, at 2.45pm.

The event is being organised by Pebbles Cafe and Lulu's Tearoom.

Participants are encouraged to wear something with a Star Wars theme.