We were deeply saddened to hear of the death of one of our pupils at the weekend. Grace Armstrong (8 King) died on Saturday night with a brain tumour.
Her parents have said:
"It is with deep sadness & sorrow that we said goodbye to amazing Grace our wonderful daughter last night. She left us for her heavenly home painlessly and peacefully with Sarah & I sitting with her speaking to her and praying for her - Annie, Nanna & Granda and Aunty Ellie & Scott with us too. We were able to care for her at 'home' to the end surrounded by love and supported by our families. Huge thanks to the wonderful Snowdrop nurses for their remarkable compassionate support."
Grace had previously had two brain tumours before she came to Bishop Luffa. Both were surgically removed and treated by radiotherapy. She was an incredibly brave, caring and happy girl in spite of the amount of treatments, procedures, scans and appointments she had been through.
A month ago we found out that Grace had another large aggressive brain tumour. Unfortunately this time it was not possible to operate or treat with radiotherapy. She was looked after at home and given medicine to make sure she wasn’t in pain. The tumour continued to grow and finally it stopped important signals in her brain that caused her to die.
There will be a public funeral memorial service that pupils and their families are welcome to attend. More information will be sent round about this as soon as possible.”
Pupils will have different reactions to the news, and staff have been given guidance about how they can help both those who knew Grace well and those who did not know her at all. A book of remembrance is being compiled with comments, thoughts, prayers and photos by pupils and staff. I am grateful to Revd Jo King, curate at St Thomas à Becket Church Pagham, who has been in school speaking with pupils.
Our annual Christmas Jumper Day this Friday will, at the family’s request, raise money to support the Sussex Snowdrop Trust who provided compassionate support for Grace. Pupils are asked to donate £1 to the charity when they wear their Christmas Jumper.
In the middle of a tragic event, we can assert our faith that, as St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, death is not the end but a beginning. Heads of House shared this prayer with Year 8 forms on Monday:
Lord our God, we remember Grace with affection.
Thank you that she is now with you, where there is no pain or suffering.
Thank you for the happy memories many of us have of her, in school and out.
Thank you for the love and support her family gave her;
We pray for them as they grieve that they may know your steadfast love
Thank you for the care and compassion shown to Grace by her doctors and nurses.
You brought your only Son Jesus Christ through death into resurrection life.
Thank you for the assurance that death is not the end, only a beginning.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen
Nick Taunt, Headteacher