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Local boy remembered in Loftus park

In March 2019, eleven-year-old Jayden Lindsey passed away after a battle with Leukaemia and his friends and family have been fundraising in his memory.

The news of Jayden’s passing was very hard for the Loftus community, and they wanted to produce something to remember Jayden. The idea of a memorial bench was thought of by Jayden’s mum, Jodi Winspear, as the eleven-year-old enjoyed playing outdoors.

Jodi approached us, asking to place the memorial bench on some of the land we owned. Touched by the story of Jayden’s passing, our Community Connector, Rachael Crooks, reached out to Helen Kennedy, Development Officer at a youth charity called Youth Focus North East.

Jayden’s family and friends worked in collaboration with Youth Focus North East to deliver an Our Community Matter project, the end goal was to deliver a fun day for all the community to enjoy. Due to COVID-19, smaller events were held instead, including a Jump for Jayden day at Airtime in Skelton on what would have been Jayden’s thirteenth birthday, funded through Youth Focus North East.

Beyond Housing and Youth Focus North East reached out to Camphill Village Trust, a charity that supports adults with learning disabilities, autism and mental health challenges, to help make Jodi’s bench idea a reality.

The experienced carpentry department and staff at Camphill, Botton Village built the memorial bench, and we donated £1,000 towards the work using our social value fund. Other funding was received from Youth Focus North East, St Leonards Church, Loftus and East Cleveland Arts.

Jodi Winspear said: “I’m so happy that Jayden’s bench has been delivered, it’s like Christmas has come early!

“COVID-19 has prevented lots of our fundraising events this year, but the lovely people at Beyond Housing, Youth Focus and Camphill Village Trust worked really hard to make this gorgeous bench and I am very grateful. It makes me feel like he has come home for Christmas.”

Rachael Crooks, our Community Connector said: “We were touched by Jayden’s story and when we were approached to place a memorial bench on our land, we wanted to help. Working with Youth Focus North East and Botton Village, we helped to coordinate the design for Jayden’s bench and are so glad that it could be completed in time for Christmas. Our close partnership work with Youth Focus North East and Camphill Trust made this idea a reality for Jodi and her family”.

Helen Kennedy, Development Officer at Youth Focus North East, said: “Getting to know the family and all of Jayden’s close friends has been an absolute honour. Everyone has been so kind, engaging and patient, especially regarding COVID-19 and the pandemic putting halt to the group’s amazing community ideas. Their willingness to continue to work in memory of Jayden was a testament to how amazing everyone is.

“I wanted to take part in this project to support Jayden’s family and friends on what would have been his thirteenth birthday. The opportunity to host a closed event at Airtime in Skelton was a genuine celebration and now this beautiful bench has been created. We are thrilled that it has made Jodi’s Christmas wish come true.”