Community Pride nominations for family of Blaise Etheridge-Clarke

York Press: The family of Blaise Etheridge-Clarke The family of Blaise Etheridge-Clarke

THE campaign to create a lasting memorial to a much-loved schoolboy who lost a four year long battle with cancer is behind two nominations for the Community Pride awards.

Blaise Etheridge-Clarke died on Boxing Day 2012, aged just six years old, and since then his former schoolmates and teachers at St Wilfrid's have created a lasting memorial for the brave youngster.

A special "trim trail" was officially opened in May, and it has been nominated as Primary School Project of the Year.

The nomination said: "The trim trail project was put together with great commitment which has resulted in a lasting tribute to Blaise. Everyone is very proud of the way the project came together and how it has already been appreciated by the pupils who will benefit from this project for many years to come."

Funds were raised by Blaise's family and friends, as well as the PTA and children at the school, and the special dedication ceremony saw pupils share their memories of Blaise.

Mrs Conway added: "The play area has made a difference to the school giving children chance to play in new ways, and pupils are very aware of its significance as a memorial for Blaise."

Meanwhile, Blaise's mum and dad Tony and Theresa have been put forward for the Parent of the Year award by friends Cori Clarke and Steve Bell.

Cori has known Theresa for 15 years since they were involved in fundraising to take disabled children on pilgrimages to Lourdes, while Steve was best man at the couple's wedding.

After losing their son less than two years ago, the Tony and Theresa have supported the memorial campaign for the primary school and have even set up a support group to help other parents through the pain of losing a child.

Cori said: "Theresa and Tony are fundraising for the play area and trying to help other parents who are grieving, all while grieving themselves and looking after the family."

Theresa launched the York Bereaved Parents Group in February and in the four meetings since she has seen the group steadily grow to create a safe and supportive environment where families who have lost a child can share their experiences and help each other to cope with their grief.

The couple are also devoted parents to their four children Christian, 9, twins Jerome and Zac, 4, and Francesca, 11 months.

The Community Pride awards are run by the York Press with City of York Council, and are sponsored by Benenden Health.

Nominations can be made online by logging on to thepress.co.uk/pride

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