Bench tribute to much-missed Abi Owen
“FOREVER smiling” was the fitting inscription on a bench unveiled at Grangefield Primary School, Bishop’s Cleeve yesterday in memory of former pupil Abi Owen.
Youngsters and teachers at the school were joined by Abi’s parents Kelly and Mark Owen in dedicating the bench to the bubbly 12-year-old, who died earlier this year.
It was placed in the corner of the playground near a cherry blossom tree planted by Jennifer and Joe, Abi’s siblings and her cousin Ted Coates, who all attend the school.
Headteacher Karen Lewis said Abi would be remembered fondly by everyone who knew her at Grangefield.
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She said: “We wanted to have a memorial to Abi and, after discussing it with her family, this is what we decided on.
“The bench will be a place where those who knew her can remember her – but also something other children will be able to enjoy for years to come as it looks out onto the playground.
“To have ‘forever smiling’ inscribed on the bench was fitting because Abi was forever smiling. That is how we shall remember her.”
The bench also includes an inscription of two dragonflies – a reference to a moving story about a water bug that has to leave his friends to become a dragonfly above the surface of the water.
Pupils at the school, where Abi was a student until last year, were told the significance of the story at a special assembly this week.
An identical bench is expected to be unveiled at Cleeve School, which Abi started last year after leaving Grangefield.
Abi died on February 10 after suffering a brain haemorrhage. She was taken to Bristol Children’s Hospital but doctors could not save her.
After Abi’s death, Kelly and Mark set up a fundraising appeal in her memory, with money going to the Wallace and Gromit Appeal in support of Bristol Children’s Hospital.
More than £20,000 has been raised so far.
Kelly said that while the family was still struggling to come to terms with Abi’s death, having the memorial bench would be a comfort.
“It’s lovely for the other pupils to have it there and especially for Jennifer and Joe,” she said. “It’s a beautiful setting and the cherry blossom will look stunning in springtime.”