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13th May 2018

Michael Stokes’ foster parents pay tribute to the Room to Improve star

Orlaith Condon

The teenager tragically passed away last week.

Michael Stokes won over the hearts of the nation when he appeared on Room to Improve during an earlier season of the show.

The 15-year-old appeared on the popular RTÉ show alongside his former teacher Ann Higgins and her husband Barry who, at the time, cared for Michael for weekends at a time.

The pair eventually went on to foster Michael after the show had aired and have now spoken out for the first time since news of his passing.

“Michael was the centre of our world,” Barry told the Sunday Independent.

“Everything made sense when he was in it – without him nothing makes sense.”

“We’ve never known a love like the love he had for us.

“We are heartbroken but feel humbled and privileged to have had him in our lives.”

Michael returned to our screens earlier this year when he made a guest appearance on The Late Late Show to talk about life since his episode of Room to Improve aired, sharing the great news that he was now living with Ann and Barry full time.

Earlier this week, Dermot Bannon shared his condolences with Ann and Barry and everyone who loved Michael, saying:

“I’m heartbroken for Ann, Barry, his parents and anyone who knew him.

“Michael was such a big character with a huge heart filled with fun, joy and excitement.

“He leaves a very big void.”

What a privilege to have known this amazing young man

A post shared by Dermot Bannon (@dermotbannon) on

Michael passed away at Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin, weeks after a ‘tragic accident’.