YEAR 11 pupils across Gwent are saying goodbye to their friends and signing T-shirts this week – but for one group of Newport pals, someone was missing.
Yesterday, friends of St Julian’s School pupil Georgina Harding, who died suddenly in May 2012, along with her family and members of staff, released 30 butterflies into the air, in memory of the girl they described as kind with a beautiful smile.
Friends read out poems about friendship and Georgina’s favourite television series, Doctor Who, while the butterflies flew out of their boxes to a Michael Jackson soundtrack of “Rockin’ Robin”.
Georgina, from Lliswerry, was 13 when she went into hospital for an operation, but complications arose when a shunt, which was put in when she was a baby to drain away water on the brain, became blocked and the teenager died shortly afterwards.
Two years on dad Colin says he remembers his daughter as a kind girl whose funeral was attended by hundreds of pupils from school.
“This is excellent,” said Mr Harding, 48, of the butterfly release, which was planned by Georgina’s friends with the help of teachers, including learning support coordinator Louise Paske.
“The school invited us along to participate.
“Georgina loved butterflies and her favourite colour was blue which is why I’m wearing blue,” said Mr Harding as he held month-old baby daughter Ruby-Mae.
“The school has been so supportive and helpful to us and they’ve kept Georgina’s memory alive for us as well.”
Georgina’s mum Rebecca, 39, released a butterfly along with Georgina’s twin sister Jess, elder sister Danielle and younger brother Cameron.
“Georgina had a beautiful smile and was not judgemental of anyone, I never heard her say a bad thing about anyone,” said Mrs Harding. “The learning support unit here was a haven for her because she didn’t feel comfortable going out into the school yard.
“If you lost sight of her you knew where she was, with her head in a book.”
Mr Harding said: “It’s lovely, everything that’s happened today. It’s nice to think that the pupils are still thinking about her two years on. She is greatly missed by all of us”
Georgina’s head of year Rhys Pritchard, who was head of Year 9, said she was an asset to the school.
“You can see by how many people are here how highly she was thought of,” he said. “They all miss her and this is a celebration of her life.”
The school has also put up a plaque in Georgina’s memory.