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Liam Hampson was a wise soul.

Even from when he was as young as a toddler, Lorna Morton would look at her son and could see that he had an insightful and thoughtful nature.

“He was so wise,” Morton said.

“From when he was born, he was just this kid that you thought had been here before. He was so alert, so smart, did everything a million miles an hour.

“He loved rugby league. At the age of three, he could tell you from the score from every single game, every weekend. He lived and breathed it.”

Adults are usually the ones who have the wisdom to pass on to the next generations and - as Hampson’s mother - Morton had plenty of life lessons, values and traits to share with her son, particularly around the importance of positivity and of being a good person.

But, in turn, Hampson taught his mother plenty as well.

Liam Hampson and Lorna Morton.
Liam Hampson and Lorna Morton.

Those life lessons and that wisdom he had is something she carries with her every day since his tragic passing in Spain in October 2022.

She said for her and her daughter Tiarna – Hampson's younger sister – they like to pretend they carry a "little Liam" on their shoulder, keeping watch over them and reminding them to embrace life and to be kind and positive.

“I have Liam’s sayings and philosophies on my phone and on the wall at work,” Morton said.

“Sayings like, ‘Win the morning, win the day’ and, ‘Always a pleasure, never a chore.’

“Liam did make me a better person. Even now, Tiarna and I say we have our little Liam sitting on our shoulder.

“One thing I remember him saying to me was, never, ever burn a bridge because you don’t know when you need to cross that bridge again. He said you should always try to maintain positive relationships.”

Hampson’s wisdom also extended beyond his values and beliefs.

His former Redcliffe Dolphins teammate, Jarrett Boland, said Hampson was “bucking the norm” with the way he lived his life. He also had a strong footy IQ and was studying education, already working at Redcliffe State High to empower the future generations.

It was this passion for his work that saw Morton, Tiarna and the rest of Hampson’s family start Hampo's Youth Foundation.

They established the foundation after Brisbane Broncos second rower Jordan Riki started a GoFundMe campaign to help bring Hampson’s body home from Spain.

It hit well above its $50,000 target, with the family also able to cover the funeral costs and still have donations left over.

Then dedications started coming in, and this is where they came up with the idea to continue Hampson's work and legacy.

“We got hundreds of cards from kids at Redcliffe High where Liam worked, telling us the impact he had on them,” Morton said.

“We started hearing more and more stories from his mates, his work colleagues, so as a family we decided we wanted to continue doing the work with young people that we would have done if he was still with us.”

This Sunday, Hampson’s former clubs in the Dolphins and Tweed Seagulls will play for the second annual Liam Hampson Cup and help raise funds and awareness for Hampo's Youth Foundation.

The foundation is also now accredited with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and registered for deductible gift recipients.

It’s going from strength-to-strength and it’s also helping his family work through their grief.

Lorna Morton with the Liam Hampson Cup in 2023. Photo: Zain Mohammed/QRL
Lorna Morton with the Liam Hampson Cup in 2023. Photo: Zain Mohammed/QRL

“It has been very therapeutic,” Morton said.

“It gives me a reason why. I think if you had of asked me before it happened, ‘what’s your worst nightmare?’ it was losing a child.

“You’d hear other people’s stories and I’d think, how do they even get out of bed in the morning, how do they keep surviving?

“I didn’t think I’d be able to survive but I’ve found strength I never knew I had, resilience I never knew I had. I’ve made a decision to live.

“If he’s looking down on us, he would want to see us continue to live. I also think that it would be a disservice to Liam if we gave up.

“Life is so precious and we need to be grateful for the things we do have.

“My daughter is also my reason why and seeing how she’s handled this and managed this as a 23-year-old, helping running the foundation, chair of our board, she’s an absolute inspiration. She wants to make her brother proud.

“I don’t know how we do it. I have bad moments and I’m sad. I’m always sad deep down. But I always try to smile and I want to make a difference in life and have a positive impact.”

And that’s what Morton wants most from this Sunday at Kayo Stadium.

She wants the Liam Hampson Cup to be a celebration.

She remembers last year’s inaugural Cup at Cbus Super Stadium was raw but it was a day that filled her with pride.

It’s a culmination of all things her son loved – footy, family, friends; promoting kindness and positivity; and doing the work for the next generations.

It means a lot to her to see how many people loved Hampson and the way his legacy gets to live on.

“It’s so humbling and such an honour,” she said.

“We’re so grateful that Liam’s legacy lives on and people continue to remember him. He loved both clubs, so I just think it’s a great recognition.

“The rugby league community when we lost Liam was unbelievable, especially both clubs. They were fantastic to us as a family and continue to be.

“The whole community has been wonderful and the game last year was such a big success.

“As a proud mum, I just continue to feel so proud of my boy.

“I want to make it a celebration so I want it to be a positive showcase of rugby league and of life. That’s what I want from it. I want it to be a happy, memorable occasion.”

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