Three cheers sounded at a Wharfedale primary school this week to celebrate the life of “a little boy who lived to play”.
Year one pupil Colin Reilly, whose serious health problems meant he relied on oxygen and had to be tube-fed, died two years ago at the age of five.
He was a well known and much loved member of Pool C of E Primary, with a renowned sense of humour, so when the school decided to do something special in his memory ‘fun’ had to be the theme.
The school's PTA, headed at the time by Sabine Stoves, embarked on a major fundraising drive and Tuesday saw the fruits of its labour with the opening of Colin's Cottage – the centrepiece of the new Foundation Stage playground.
Children in Year 3 and 4, who all knew Colin, came out to cheer as his parents Sam and Mick, supported by their four daughters, cut the ceremonial ribbon.
Mrs Reilly said: “We’d just like to say thankyou to everybody and say how proud we feel you’ve done this for Colin.
“I can’t thank you enough for the time and care you gave him while he was here. It’s so nice to see what an impact he had, on such a lot of people, in just a short time.”
Colin’s father Mick said: “He was only here for a short time but a good time, and everybody around him was a great help.”
His eight-year-old sister Emily, who, like Colin, was adopted by the Reillys, had drawn a picture of him for the opening along with the words “love you”, which will be displayed inside the playhouse.
Headteacher Mark McDermid said: “Colin’s Cottage was the way our school could celebrate the life of Colin who we all fondly remember and was an inspiration.
“I am so pleased the pupils of Colin’s class and Emily’s, who were in the year above Colin, are also here to celebrate the opening.
“And I am delighted Mr and Mrs Reilly and family are here to officially open the play area. It is a celebration of Colin and what he meant to us.
“Colin had a short life though it was lived to the full.
“His illness sadly finally overcame him, but I believe the inscription on the cottage says it all: Colin was a boy ‘who lived to play’ – those who knew him will always remember him and his joy for life.”
Mr McDermid singled out the PTA for praise, and also thanked Awards For All, ward and parish councillors, the Summer Club of St Wilfrid's Parish Church, the Kingfisher Club and Pool Pre-School for their support.