St Bartholomew's Primary School has held its second ‘Rafe Day’ in memory of a former pupil.
Seven-year-old Rafe Larby died suddenly of an undiagnosed illness in February 2020.
The second ‘Rafe Day’ was held on what would have been his tenth birthday. The day encourages pupils to celebrate and remember Rafe, take part in activities inspired by his way of learning, and express their grief through creativity.
Rafe’s parents Georgina and Charlie Larby said: “We were apprehensive about how we would feel returning to the school we love so much without seeing our darling little boy’s face among the other children. But something about the energy that flows through the school on ‘Rafe Day’ brings us closer to him.
“The carefully-selected activities, which reflect his personality and his sense of creativity, meant it was impossible not to feel his presence.
“We are proud that Rafe’s continuing legacy is one of creativity, imagination, pride and bravery to be yourself.
“The special gathering with his old ‘Kenya’ class, to share our memories of Rafe, was a very important part of the day.
“We were so proud of the children for openly sharing their thoughts. Grief is such a difficult topic to raise with children but we believe that by continuing with this day we are helping the children find confidence to creatively express themselves and to lean into a very difficult reality.”
St Bartholomew’s headteacher Simon Avenell said: “We felt it was incredibly important to continue to honour Rafe’s memory.
“We are a family-oriented school and Rafe will always be part of our school family.
“On ‘Rafe Day’, the children all came to school in their own clothes ready for some outdoor learning, as this is one of the things Rafe loved.
“We wanted ‘Rafe Day’ to be a celebration of the aspects of school he loved the most: a celebration of his life. Some of the other activities included making Christmas decorations using sustainable resources, planting daffodil bulbs, outdoor problem-solving activities and writing poetry based on the family motto: be kind, be brave, never give up.
“It was lovely to have Rafe’s family there to take part in the day. Talking about grief can be difficult for everyone no matter how old you are but our core values ensure our children feel safe and comfortable to talk about their feelings.”