Northamptonshire school raises £1,000 for bench to remember teacher's daughter

Staff and pupils all wore sparkles to remember a special little girl who passed away on Monday

By Carly Roberts
Saturday, 29th February 2020, 12:48 pm
The whole school are pictured each making a heart hand shape for their friend, Olivia. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.
The whole school are pictured each making a heart hand shape for their friend, Olivia. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

It was a bittersweet day at Weedon Bec Primary School on Friday as staff and pupils said goodbye to their year 6 teacher's daughter, Olivia, who died on Monday in hospital.

Following the sad news, parents and children rallied round teacher, Aimee Wood, and her family by hosting 'Olivia's Smile Day' in memory of Olivia, aged 5.

Aimee Wood said: "I'm really overwhelmed with love and support.

Teachers and staff pictured in their special charity t-shirts, arranged by Helen Vann.

"She was five and the difference she made to people was incredible. She filled a room with joy and she had a joy that infected the world, she commanded a room in an instant.

"I would give anything in the world to have her here right now but as a family we say if you can't change something we have to change the way we respond to it and I say that to the children at school.

"I was so proud to be her mum."

Children and staff were either dressed in charity t-shirts or their brightest and sparkliest outfit - with mufti donations going towards a friendship bench, known as Olivia's Bench.

The memorial bench will be in memory of little, smiley Olivia Wood.

Teacher, Helen Vann arranged to get the t-shirts printed in time for the day of remembrance and charity bake sale on Friday, which by early afternoon, had raised about £1,000.

The children got to know Olivia, who went to school in Nottingham, as Aimee would often bring her into school.

Helen said: "Everyone on Monday was devastated, and on Tuesday the headteacher bought everyone a pizza.

"I said we needed to do something and it needed to be bright and colourful, Olivia loved her bright colours. We have sold nearly 50 t-shirts and I'm still taking orders for them now.

So many parents baked cakes to raise money for the bench and to support Aimee Wood's family.

"The money we are raising here is for a friendship bench in Olivia's name and it's somewhere for her mum to go to."

On Friday during Olivia's Smile Day staff encouraged the children to share a 'smile'.

If a child did something kind, generous or just made someone else smile then they could write it on a heart which was turned into bunting that decorated the school.

"It's just been a lovely day and everyone has been really happy," Helen added while she was helping to sell cakes on Friday.

Kind messages were made into bunting which was put up in the school hall.

"The children have been coming into my classroom to get their faces painted and the headteacher made everyone sausage and bacon sandwiches this morning.

"The whole community has come together, it's a lovely, lovely place."

In December amazing Aimee decided to do something extra special for site supervisor Derek Kingsford after he was rushed to hospital with an aneurysm.

She changed the words of Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond, which he regularly sings around the school, and sent the recording to him in hospital.

Helen added: "Aimee is the life and soul of the school.

"She did the song for Derek when he was poorly and we had to do something for her - she's always so kind.

"Every year she also gives everyone a lucky year 6 penny for their SATs.”

The year 6 teacher loves Weedon Bec Primary School so much she even travels from her home in Nottingham to still teach there two days a week on Thursday and Friday.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Aimee's friend Steph, which has raised more than £8,000.

Originally it paid for trips to the hospital but money raised now will pay for Olivia's funeral and fund memorial projects.