Memorial bench for Andrew, in the park he loved

Andrew Purves, who died 34 years ago at the age of eight
Andrew Purves, who died 34 years ago at the age of eight

FAMILY and friends of a Southwick boy who died at the age of eight are planning to buy a bench in his memory.

The year-long fundraising effort, which began last week, will provide a lasting memorial for Andrew Purves, who drowned on holiday 34 years ago.

He was a pupil at the former Manor Hall First and Middle School and Southwick Recreation Ground, known locally as Manor Hall Park, was one of his favourite places.

Andrew’s sister, Sherrian Purves, said she and his best friend, Gary Woolgar, had discussed the last fitting memorial, deciding on what would best suits his character.

“We will be having a bench dedicated to him, put in his favourite part of Southwick park,” she said.

“He loved climbing the trees and would scare our mum and me to death by seeing how high he could go. So, a good spot for the bench is by there.”

The bench will be for all who knew and loved Andrew.

Ms Purves explained: “Anyone who needs to have peace (five minutes away from everyday life), think things over, or even chat, can sit there.”

She said Andrew’s friends were children when he passed away, so they may feel they never said goodbye or grieved for him, and this was a gift to them to thank them for all their support.

Matthew Moore, a friend of Andrew’s at the time of his death, said it was a nice idea and Andrew had not been forgotten, even after all this time.

“I still have a few words with him when I visit my family’s resting place,” he added.

Fundraising will take place over the next year and the pair are hoping a big event will be planned as part of that, although other ideas are welcomed.

“If we are successful, then after the unveiling of the bench, we want people to stay to make a toast and have a good laugh, cry and drink loads to him,” she added.

Visit the Remembering Andrew Purves Facebook page for more information.