Tribute paid to Barnack Primary School pupil who died aged 5
A mother has paid tribute to her kind-hearted and loving son, who died aged just five-years-old.
Benedict Blythe, a pupil at Barnack Primary School, died suddenly on Wednesday last week (December 1).
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.
"He loved playing with his sister, Etta, and looked after her, letting her know what to do," Helen said.
"He was once asked ‘what’s your superpower? What’s the one best thing that you’re able to do?’ and he thought about it and said, ‘it’s when I can help Etta to open the door’.
"His superpower was his kind heart, and seeing how others needed help and helping them."
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.
He had previously attended Wiggles and Giggles Nursery in Stamford, and briefly Copthill Nursery and Stamford Nursery School.
"He loved to learn. He loved numbers and he’d wake up at 5.30am on a Sunday and want to do maths," she said.
"When he was falling asleep at night, he’d be whispering times tables under his breath and I’d have to remind him to go to sleep."
However, for the Blythe family the most important thing was spending time together.
Helen said: "Benedict loved us, his family, so much. You could see it in his eyes.
"I’d say ‘I love you my Ben’ and he’d say ‘I love you my mummy’.
"His face would light up when he saw you, and he’d often choose snuggling at home with us rather than doing other much more fun things, he’d say ‘I’d just rather be at home with you’."
Helen described lockdown as a "gift" as it allowed the family to spend even more precious time together, with days spent paddling in streams, enjoying picnics in the garden at their home in Stamford, or splashing in the paddling pool.
She said: "We were with them all day, every day. It would have been a gift whether he was here or not, but now that he isn’t I’m so grateful for those long summer days and all of that time we wouldn’t have normally had together every day."
Benedict also loved spending many happy hours with his Nanny and Papa, Jane and Robert Steward.
Helen described Benedict as a 'warm and happy' boy who would 'do anything for anyone'.
"He was always so quick to smile, and laugh, and he was so funny," said Helen. "He was sharp, and saw through nonsense, but he’d point it out with a grin."
Pete was called to school on Wednesday last week (December 1) after Benedict fell ill. He was taken to Peterborough City Hospital but despite the best efforts of hospital staff, he sadly passed away.
Helen shared the news on her social media channels the day after, 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".
She was inundated with comments from people showing their support.
"I posted the tweet just because I woke up the morning after, and the world was still turning," Helen said.
"It felt like the world should know about him, and see him, and understand that the worst of all things had happened.
"I thought maybe 10 or 20 people would like the picture, I don’t have a big Twitter following and don’t use it all that often, but I just felt like I needed people to know and to see him."
So far more than 880,000 people have liked the photo - which was one of Benedict's favourites as it featured his monkey Ray - and there's over 50,000 comments from people offering condolences.
"There are messages of comfort and support, but there are also the stories and photos and faces of all those other children who should be seen and whose names should be spoken and whose stories should be heard," said Helen.
"Nothing helps, but this has helped us a little.
"You look for the tiniest sparks of good in this, and that he gave voice to all of those others is a beautiful thing, and something he would have liked."
A GoFundMe page has been set up by the family and their friends to raise funds for the things Benedict loved: Barnack Primary School and The Fenland Light Railway.
More than £22,800 has been raised so far. An initial target of £1,000 was set.
To make a donation to the fundraising page click here.