PUPILS released hundreds of balloons into the sky in tribute to their classmate Aaron Page, who drowned while celebrating his eighth birthday last year.
Children at Pontefract’s St Giles’ J&I School marked the first anniversary of the youngster’s death by opening a memorial garden and taking part in a charity balloon race – in Aaron’s favourite colour, blue.
Aaron’s dad Alan, of Monkhill Drive, said: “It was an emotional day, but we can’t thank the school enough for everything they’ve done.
“The fact they’ve created a garden in his memory means our son will never be forgotten.”
Aaron was swept away by a strong current after going in the River Wharfe at Bolton Bridge, near Bolton Abbey, while on a visit with a group of relatives and friends on June 5 last year.
His brother Josh, then 13, saw him struggling and raised the alarm before bravely trying to pull him to safety.
A woman grabbed Aaron’s hand as she clung to a tree, but the current tore them apart. Dozens of people then split into two lines to search the river’s depths. Police divers and cave rescue teams also joined the search, but Aaron’s body was found later that day.
Alan said: “This last year’s flown by. We think of Aaron all the time but have had to keep strong for our four other children.
“On the anniversary of his death we went back to Bolton Abbey to lay flowers – there were around 35 of us there. We’d like to thank all our family and friends for their support this past year.”
Dan and Emma Smith from DWS Landscapes gave their time free of charge to complete landscaping work. Barkers’ Fencing donated wood, RJS Landscapes gave stone, Morrisons provided flowers and B&Q supplied a memorial bench.
Christine Brown, of the school, said: “The children wanted to create a memorial garden and it will be a place where they can sit and talk about their friend. The day was a celebration of Aaron’s life.”