Tommy Grahame was a wonderful little boy; charming, intelligent, inquisitive and generous. He loved to imagine that he was a pirate, and used to spend hours in his room with his Playmobil pirates planning complex campaigns and fighting battles.
Tommy died on 10th December 2010. He was just six years old.
Eighteen months earlier Tommy had been diagnosed with a rare and very aggressive brain tumour. Tommy put up a very brave fight against the disease, enduring months of radiotherapy and chemotherapy and endless hospital visits. Tragically last summer the disease came back and Tommy died on December 10th in his mother’s arms in his bedroom on a day of brilliant sunshine over the Black Mountains.
Towards the end of his life Tommy visited the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Hyde Park. Whilst he couldn’t charge around the pirate ship like other children, he nevertheless loved the experience and this has given us an idea for a suitable memorial in Tommy’s name.
We want to create a wonderful pirate-themed playground right here in our local area. We have therefore set up a charitable trust, called the Tom Grahame Trust, to raise funds to build and maintain a new playground.
Tommy attended Clyro Church in Wales Primary School, not far from Hay-on-Wye in the Welsh borders. We plan to build the playground near the school; it will be used both by children at Clyro School and all children in the community.
The centrepiece of the playground will be a replica pirate ship, with a mast, rigging and a plank. We are currently investigating similarly themed playgrounds around the country to give us ideas, and the school children are getting involved with their ideas. It’s a wonderful focus for their grief and loss of a classmate.
The idea is for children to have an exciting, safe, sustainable environment where they play at being pirates – or anything they want for that matter. It will be just the sort of place where Tommy would have wanted to play.
We estimate that funds of about £70,000 are required to build the playground. As of April we have raised £35,000 from amazingly generous people. We have planned various fundraising events around Hay, including a stall at the Buttermarket (Saturday 21 May), a stand at the Hay Festival (26 May – 5 June), and a family music day at Cabalva in July.
Please do get involved and help in any way you can. Share ideas to raise money – a sponsored bike ride or sale for example – let us know what you would like to do. Donate items that we can sell at our fundraising events. If they are pirate themed, so much the better! Or write a cheque to The Tom Grahame Trust and send to Corisande and Angus Grahame, Lower Bettws, Whitney-on-Wye HR3 6EY.
Please do whatever you can, big or small; it will all help make our dream a reality that we can all enjoy.