St Wilfrid’s School creates special play area in memory of brave Blaise Etheridge-Clarke

Blaise Etheridge-Clarke’s parents, Theresa and Tony, with their children, from left, Zach, Jerome, Francesca and Christian at the opening of the new play equipment at St Wilfrid’s School.

Blaise Etheridge-Clarke’s parents, Theresa and Tony, with their children, from left, Zach, Jerome, Francesca and Christian at the opening of the new play equipment at St Wilfrid’s School.

Updated in News

A PLAY area has been set up in memory of a six-year-old York schoolboy who died following a long battle with cancer.

Blaise Etheridge-Clarke, who attended St Wilfrid’s School, died on Boxing Day, 2012, after a four-year battle with a rare brain cancer.

Now an outdoor adventure play area, built and part-donated by SJ Danby Playscheme at Elvington, has been set up at the Monkgate school in Blaise's memory.

The trim trail was funded by Blaise's family, who have carried out fundraising with friends and family, as well as well as governors and the parent teacher association.

Theresa Etheridge-Clarke, Blaise's mum, said: "It was absolutely lovely. His friends stood up and said what they remembered about him and his favourite things and they brought up things he had made at school. It was very moving because they presented me with them.

"I couldn't have asked for more, I was very overwhelmed.

"Our friends and family that got the fundraising together and we raised about £2,000. I want to say thank you to the school - to dedicate a whole play area to my son is perfect. People will remember him forever."

The opening and a service of blessing was attended by his parents Theresa and Tony, and Blaise's brother Christian, nine, a pupil at St Wilfrid's, who cut the ribbon to the new play equipment, as well as his younger brothers Zach and Jerome, four.

During the service pupils also sang Blaise's favourite song If I Were a Butterfly.

Head teacher Jane Conway said: "We wanted something significant to remember Blaise and play equipment seemed appropriate because Blaise loved to play.

"He was an important part of our school - it's devastating for the whole school community to lose a child and obviously it was a very difficult time for the family.

"We had to handle it very sensitively in school. Once the family were ready we wanted to have something lasting in school. It had to be something meaningful for the children and we didn't want it to be something sad."

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