A memorial garden in honour of popular Alde Valley Academy student Elle Cook, has been unveiled at the school, following fundraising efforts by friends.
Elle very sadly passed away after collapsing at the family home in August last year.
This garden and bench provide a lasting tribute to a fun and loving student and is enshrined with one of Elle’s favourite sayings; ‘bless your cotton socks’.
Determined to celebrate her life, her closest school friends, with support from Principal Michael Wilson, school technician Liz Miller and Mr Cook, organised a non-uniform day to create an area of memorial in Elle’s honour. A total of £300 was raised, including a donation from Mr Cook, enough to purchase a bench with a plaque. It was unveiled by Mr Cook at an intimate ceremony involving Elle’s closest friends and school staff.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Cook said: “She was a happy, fun child, and me and Aden miss her. It’s very difficult. I would like to thank the school. It’s a very difficult time for the children as it’s exam time. It’s nice for the school to remember her in this way.” Referring to the plaque, he said: “That would be something she would laugh at today. Her little anecdotes kept us all a bit cheerier.”
At the service, Mr Cook also shared the news that, when Elle was in hospital, he had made the difficult decision to allow her organs to be donated to help save others. “She lives on in four other people,” he said. “One of those was a two-year-old-girl. One has written to me to say how they have been given a chance of a new life.”
Principal Michael Wilson said: “I have only been here since January and I never met Elle. I know that she was a very able girl, very fun loving and a great friend to all. This is a celebration of Elle, of the friendship that you had. In years to come, this bench will remain here and the memory of Elle will continue.”
Leftover funds raised through the non-uniform day will be put towards the Elle Cook English Award, launched last year, which will be presented to a high achieving English pupil at the school.