Gooburrum State School students prepare to plant a tree in memory of Trinity Bates.
Gooburrum State School students prepare to plant a tree in memory of Trinity Bates. Max Fleet

School plants tree for Trinity

GOOBURRUM State School students released butterflies and planted a tree as a lasting memory of Trinity Bates, the schoolmate they lost too soon.

In a memorial service watched over by the eight-year-old’s mum, Amanda Clarke, and baby sister Mylee, more than 40 parents, friends and teachers joined pupils at the small school for a final farewell to the youngster, who was killed in February.

“My memories of Trinity will always be positive because that’s the way she made me feel,” Gooburrum State School principal Derek Cairns said as he fought back tears.

Butterflies, Trinity’s favourite insect, were a positive motif throughout the service, and a number of the teachers wore a small pink ribbon pinned down by a butterfly on their shirt.

From the front row Trinity’s family watched the service, silent as the students paid tribute.

When the school sang Cartoon Heroes, a song Trinity was learning at the time of her death, one boy left the performance in tears and had to be consoled by his father.

Tears throughout the service were brief, with the parents and teachers ensuring the service was a celebration of Trinity’s spirit.

“Recently I was looking through the memorial book and many of the entries featured the word ‘uplifting’ — that is how Trinity made us feel, uplifted,” Mr Cairns said.

School captain Shayla Larcombe cut a ribbon to open a park bench, donated by MegaToys, which was dedicated to Trinity and now sits overlooking the school’s playground.

A simple plaque read: “Dancing in the air, singing in the sunshine, our treasured friend.”

A pink jacaranda tree was also planted in Trinity’s honour.

To end the ceremony, each of the students was given a box containing a butterfly to release.

Once the butterflies were in the air, the students began to smile, fascinated with their progress.

“It is nice to see the kids having fun. It’s an important part of the healing process,” Mr Cairns said.

“Dancing in the air, singing in the sunshine, our treasured friend.”

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