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Bulbs planted at Barnack Primary School in memory of pupil

A woodland bulb walk has been planted in memory of a kind-hearted boy, who died aged just five-years-old.

Benedict Blythe, a pupil at Barnack Primary School, died suddenly on December 1 last year.

His parents Helen and Pete described his ‘kind heart as one of the most beautiful things they have ever known’, as he impacted the lives of everyone he met.

Benedict Blythe with his sister Etta
Benedict Blythe with his sister Etta

On Mother’s Day, his family and a group of 50 volunteers planted 30,000 bulbs which will flower in the school grounds in memory of Benedict.

Helen said: “Benedict loved being outdoors and in nature. He knew the names of lots of the spring woodland flowers, and would help us plant in the garden.

“This is a lovely way to remember him because it’s doing something he enjoyed in a place he loved, with the people who loved him best, and that’s a very special thing.

Bulbs have been planted in memory of Benedict Blythe
Bulbs have been planted in memory of Benedict Blythe

“We hope this will be somewhere the community and children can enjoy, and can bring moments of happiness and reflection.

“I can imagine Benedict running along the bulb walk, and loving what we have created.”

More work on the area will take place in the autumn by garden designer Adam Frost, who offered to help create a design which will improve the wildlife of the woodland area and make it an exciting place for pupils and the community to use.

After Benedict died, Helen shared the news on her social media channels, with a message saying how she wanted everyone to “know that he existed, and to see his beautiful smile and know how wonderful he was”. Helen was inundated with support, receiving hundreds of thousands of reactions.

A woodland bulb walk has been planted at Barnack Primary School in memory of former pupil, Benedict Blythe
A woodland bulb walk has been planted at Barnack Primary School in memory of former pupil, Benedict Blythe

Following this, a JustGiving page was set up by a family friend which raised £25,225 from more than 1,400 donors to go to causes close to Benedict’s heart - Barnack Primary School and the Fenland Light Railway.

The bulb walk is among the projects the school will benefit from as a result of the fundraising page.

A mix of woodland bulbs were planted - in a space which is open to the community outside school hours - including bluebells, snowdrops, aconites, cowslips, woodland daffodils and lily of the valley.

Helen said: “During the pandemic we walked through woods filled with bluebells and he’d always point out the spot where they grew, even in the winter.

“There is an episode of Peter Rabbit on TV where Peter brings his mum the ‘first bluebell of spring’, which was a snowdrop he’d painted blue. He always loved that episode, and would talk about it every time we saw a snowdrop, and every time we’d see a bluebell.”

She added: “Every time we come here as a family, we’ll think of Benedict, of the happy times, and of all the people he touched in his small life who helped us to create it in his memory.”

Benedict, who had an IQ in the 99th percentile, enjoyed his education at Barnack Primary School and at home with Helen, who flexi-schooled him one day a week.

On the days he wasn’t at school, the family would explore the natural world, something Helen said ‘just seemed to make sense for him’.

She said: “Benedict had a kind heart, quick intellect and bubbling enthusiasm and joy. He loved playing numbers, playing with his sister Etta and exploring the natural world.”

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