Diarmuid Frazer was just six years old when he was killed in a road accident in Lisburn in March 2014. His twin brother Cormac was injured in the incident, but thankfully he survived.
Five years on from the tragedy which left his family totally heartbroken, what would have been Diarmuid’s final days at primary school will be marked with the erection of a lasting memorial to the Frazers’ “wonderful boy”, who will “never be forgotten”.
Thanks to the Lisburn family’s fundraising efforts, current and future pupils at Ballymacward Primary School – where Diarmuid and Cormac were P2 pupils at the time of the accident – will benefit from the installation of an outdoor classroom.
The new octagonal construction will have a green heart-shaped plaque over the door in memory of Diarmuid.
The foundations of the structure will also have a special reminder of the Frazer twins after Cormac was allowed to leave his hand prints in the wet concrete.
The boys’ aunt, Joanne Taggart, explained how their mum Tina and dad Barry wanted to do something special for the school, which has been a great support to Cormac, now 11, his siblings John James, 14, and Orlaith, 6, and the whole family since Diarmuid’s tragic death.
“This year has been tough for Tina and Barry. It marks the end of an era for Cormac at primary school as well as highlighting the fact that Diarmuid will not be with him as he moves on to secondary school,” Joanne said. “But in saying that, the school have been so supportive to all the family under the most difficult of circumstances so it was important for them to give something back, something that will be of benefit to the children and a fitting dedication to Diarmuid.
“We had talked about various things that could be done, but I think it was important to acknowledge the school because they have been amazing. They have been very supportive to the family in general, not just to Cormac, Orlaith and John James when he was there.”
After discussing a number of possibilities with principal Hugh Kennedy, it was decided that an outdoor classroom would greatly benefit the children’s learning and development.
“The benefits of this facility will encourage more enthusiastic learning as children are in a more relaxed environment and it’s another tool to optimise their learning and development,” Joanne continued. “It will be used for specific learning sessions but also as a recreational facility, a chill out zone for quiet reading and base to gather at break times etc. The plan is also to utilise it on the likes of fun days, sports days or family events at the school.”
The groundworks on the project are already complete, and delivery and construction work will take place over the next couple of weeks. The official unveiling of the classroom will be carried out at a fun day and barbecue at the school on June 21.
Thanking all those who have helped raise more than £7,000 to cover the cost of the project, and those who have kindly donated their time and materials, Joanne continued: “It’s such a small community and the generosity of people has been overwhelming. It’s been amazing, people are just so thoughtful.
“The PTA have been amazing and people across Lisburn, Stoneyford, Glenavy and beyond have been so supportive in every way, but especially financially. Without their financial support we would never be in this position of being able to make this happen.”
Every year the family marks the anniversary of Diarmuid’s passing by doing something special in his memory.
They previously held a gala ball which raised £44,500 to buy a state-of-the-art scanner for the intensive care unit at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children – where doctors battled to save Diarmuid’s life – and presented a ‘Buddy Bench’ to Ballymacward Primary.
“Without the kindness of the public we would never have been in a position to do some of the nice things that have been done,” Joanne said.
Looking forward to the unveiling of the outdoor classroom, she added: “This is a bit of a struggle as it is the end of an era, but at the forefront of Tina and Barry’s minds is that if there is anything good that can come out of Diarmuid’s passing then it is that they can help other children.
“This kind of thing is really important – to know that Diarmuid’s memory lives on through helping others.”