Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Call for Place to Remember Riley; Council Rejects Permanent Memorial for Teen Who Died during School Sport Class

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Call for Place to Remember Riley; Council Rejects Permanent Memorial for Teen Who Died during School Sport Class

Article excerpt

Byline: Sue Gardiner

FAMILY and friends of a Kingscliff school boy who died during class almost three years ago, are calling for a permanent memorial to be built in his honour.

Popular Year 10 Kingscliff High School student Riley Gillespie died on November 23, 2012 after collapsing while participating in a PE class in the water at nearby Cudgen Creek.

Despite the frantic attempts of teachers to revive the fit and active student, and further efforts by medical staff at Tweed Heads Hospital, Riley died.

Hours later, disbelief rippled through a hastily convened school assembly when the principal announced Riley's death.

Those ripples continue to be felt today, as his family and friends prepare to mark the third anniversary of his passing.

"The very sad part about that day, it was the Year 10 prom that night and Riley had been so very excited about it, as were all his friends," Riley's grandmother Judith Gillespie said.

A post-mortem revealed Riley died of sudden death arrhythmic syndrome,

which kills thousands of seemingly healthy people every year.

"He could have had it since he was a baby," Ms Gillespie said.

Doctors urged the family to have all of their children tested for the condition, with those tested since given the all-clear.

After losing Riley, his fellow Year 10 students fashioned a makeshift memorial in the park at the three trees where teachers had worked desperately to save his life, placing cards, candles, flowers, photos and other mementos there.

The site has become a frequent place for family and friends to visit, as no grave site exists due to Riley being cremated.

Ms Gillespie also had a brass plaque constructed, declaring how much their "sweet boy" was missed - which was leant against the base of one of the trees.

But last year two of the trees were cut down and the third is understood to be at risk of the same fate.

Riley's friends and family now want a permanent memorial to be placed at the scene, the plaque attached permanently to a rock.

"I often drive down and just sit at the tables (overlooking the site)," Ms Gillespie said.

"So many of his friends and our family still drop in there and take flowers any time of the year, I always feel that he is there," she said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.