Friendship garden in memory of Joshua McCormack opened at the little boy's school
Date published: 15 April 2019
Joshua's Friendship Garden
A ‘friendship garden’ in memory of Joshua McCormack has been opened at his primary school.
The garden was officially opened at St John with St Michael Primary School in Shawforth on Monday 8 April after months of hard work, so that other pupils had somewhere to remember Joshua, who died at the age of five after battling a brain tumour.
His parents, Nicola and Kevin McCormack, Rochdale AFC players Matty Done and Callum Camps, and mascot Desmond Dragon, cut the ribbon to open the garden in front of attendees including Joshua’s little brother Zachary, family and friends, the mayor of Whitworth, Madeline De Souza, councillors and other dignitaries.
The opening was followed by a balloon release for the brave little boy, often referred to as Whitworth’s superhero.
Nicola said: "Joshua was so selfless, so kind and so thoughtful. He was such a loving child and so secure in himself. He loved his life, his family, his home, his toys, his pets, his football team and he especially loved his school. But more then everything, Joshua loved people being happy, smiling and having fun.
"When Joshua’s favourite teacher, Miss Dalton, approached me last year to ask permission for the school to honour Joshua by building a garden in his memory, I was overwhelmed with emotion.
"When Joshua passed away, I couldn’t bear to part with any of his precious possessions, such as his toys, so these were all placed in storage and have remained ever since. I have been too afraid to sort through Josh’s things as I knew I could never part with them.
"Immediately I knew what Joshua would have wanted me to do, so I donated all his favourite toys for his friends to enjoy in his garden in his absence."
Teaching assistant Emma Dalton, who designed the garden, said: "We decided we wanted an area within the school grounds for our school children to reflect and remember Joshua, so decided to came up with the vision of creating 'Joshua's Friendship Garden', a garden to be made in his loving memory by his friends."
Every child at the school has been involved with creating something to go in the superhero-themed garden, with Joshua’s favourite things clear to see throughout.
The garden has an entrance where the children can step along stepping stones then enter under a rainbow-coloured archway. Bright, happy colours have been used to reflect the warmth and happiness to be felt there, as well as the sounds of wind-chimes and the soothing sound of the river that runs behind the fence.
The children have up-cycled old items including tyres, and an old wheelbarrow which is now full of flowers. Painted giant reels make superhero seats and play stations for the children to use, including a magical toadstool, and blue ribbons are tied on the school fences on the run-up to the garden.
A memorial bench now has an official place in Joshua's Friendship Garden, for the children to sit on to remember their friend and the fun times they shared.
Nicola added: "The garden was appropriately named Joshua’s friendship garden and it’s beautiful. Now the garden is open, it is so heart-warming to see the children enjoying playing in Joshua’s garden and with all of Joshua’s toys - just how things would have been if Joshua was here.
"The school has worked so hard to complete the garden and the wider community have donated items, funding and time. I cannot thank them enough for all the support throughout Joshua’s illness and in the last two years since Joshua sadly passed away."
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