SMILES were planted on the faces of schoolchildren and teachers as a memorial garden was opened in honour of a former pupil.
The Brad Baldwin Memorial Garden was opened at the Basildon Upper Academy, inWickford Avenue, Pitsea, by his family yesterday while his friends and former teachers proudly looked on.
Happy-go-lucky Brad was just 16 when he died in February last year, after battling Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Gary Smith, head of the Upper Academy, said the teenager had an impact on many people’s lives and “never complained” despite being in pain and discomfort on a daily basis.
He explained the garden is a fitting tribute to Brad, who loved gardening, spiders and had a lot of knowledge about plants.
He said: “We wanted the garden to be right at the heart of the school, so the students can access it whenever they want a place of peace and tranquility.”
The centrepiece of the garden is an acer tree, which was one of Brad’s favourite plants, along with giant daisies.
It also features a special plaque unveiled by his mum and step-dad, Lisa and Sid O’Flynn, and balloons were released into the sky by his sister Danielle, 11, and twin brothers Jake and Luke, six.
Lisa 40, said: “It’s a really nice occasion, not just from our aspect, but for the kids.
“It’s a place where they can go and get away if they need to. Everyone’s done so much hard work.”
A huge tribute by staff and pupils followed Brad’s death. A badge was created from a design he had drawn of his pet tarantula, Bubbles, and was sold to students and staff for 50p to raise money in his memory.
The money raised helped to pay for a pillow of flowers for his funeral and a plaque for the garden, the remainder was shared between two charities, Little Havens children’s hospice and the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.