Harborough community shocked by the tragic sudden death of a popular 14-year-old school pupil - here's how you can help raise funds in his memory

His death has stunned both students and staff at the school on Welland Park Road

Monday, 10th May 2021, 12:19 pm
Much-loved Jim McCann, 14, who attended Welland Park Academy, passed away suddenly last Thursday (May 6).

The tragic sudden death of a “larger than life” pupil has rocked a secondary school in Market Harborough.

Much-loved Jim McCann 14, who attended Welland Park Academy, passed away suddenly last Thursday (May 6).

The tragedy has left his family “devastated” – and stunned both students and staff at the school on Welland Park Road.

Principal Julie McBrearty has now written to the shocked parents of their 960 students to tell them that Year 9 pupil Jim has died.

And staff are reassuring Jim’s friends – as well as all their youngsters – that they can get emotional and mental health support from specially-trained counsellors.

Jim’s family have now launched an emotional bid to raise money for Leicester Royal Infirmary in the schoolboy’s memory – and they have already raised almost £3,500.

If you would like to get behind the efforts to support the LRI, you can visit her fundraising page here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-babyjim-mccannJulie told the Harborough Mail today: “This is very tragic.

“Jim’s sudden death has come to a huge shock to all of us here at Welland Park Academy.

“It might sound like a cliché but I knew Jim very well – and he really was a larger than life character.

“He was a very popular boy, confident, happy and always smiling.”

She added: “Jim had such a lot of friends here – and they cannot believe that he’s not here any more.

“He also has two siblings here at our school – as well as two siblings at a local primary school.

“We are deeply saddened by his death.

“Jim, who lived in Market Harborough, was a much-liked, fun-loving member of our school and his loss has touched us all deeply.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time of grief,” said Julie.

“His family are understandably totally devastated by his loss.

“While no one can truly prepare for such tragic events that affect us all, we will be concentrating on supporting our school community over the next few months.

“This means, among other things, returning to a normal school routine to provide structure and support.

“We have written to the parents of all our students because it was important that they knew about this.

“Jim was one of our community – and a big part at that.

“We also spoke to all our pupils on Friday.

“We wanted to acknowledge what had happened,” said Julie.

“And we wanted to let them know that they could access immediate support here.

“This is after all the first time that many of our children will have encountered grief.”

The school head said “young people can be affected by this sort of event for many months to come”.

“All our teaching staff have received bereavement training.

“Our pastoral support includes a counsellor especially trained to deal with bereavement, an ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) and Mental Health First Aiders in addition to a highly-trained pastoral team,” said Julie.

“These staff will be available for students affected directly by this loss or for whom this tragedy may trigger a personal response.

“We have asked our school community to respect the privacy of the family through this difficult and sensitive time and refrain from discussing this on social media.”

In her letter to parents, Julie wrote: “Support is available in school to all students and this will continue as additional support may be required over coming weeks.

“Your child may react in different ways to this sad news.

“These reactions and feelings may be part of the grieving process. “Many young people will wish to talk to parents or someone else about their feelings.

“We will be talking to our students about this in groups to acknowledge what has happened - and to signpost the extensive support available within school and through external sources,” said Julie.

“We must remind our young people that all of us should seek help from others when we feel vulnerable or overwhelmed - and to seek help from an adult if they are worried about themselves or a friend.

“If you feel your child requires additional support, please speak to their form tutor in the first instance.

“Parents can also access online support through the following links:

https://www.winstonswish.org/https://www.samaritans.org/https://www.childbereavementuk.org/https://www.cruse.org.uk/https://www.ianschain.co.uk/https://www.kooth.com/“We can assure you that we will continue working to provide appropriate support for students, parents / carers and staff at this difficult and sensitive time.

“The family have asked that we respect their privacy at this very sad time.

“I would ask that parents and students refrain from discussing this on social media or with media representatives.

“Your support and care for each other is, as always, appreciated.”

Jim’s mum Zoe McCann is now setting out to raise £4,000 for the Intensive Care Unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI).

She had already generated £3,472 from 186 donors by midday today.

Paying tribute to “her beautiful” son Jim, Zoe says on her gofundme page: “As many of you are aware our beautiful son BabyJim sadly passed away on 06.05.2021 aged just 14.

“We would like to raise money in his memory to donate to the amazing intensive care unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

“And as I have been informed that some people were wanting ways to help out I thought this would be the best way to organise it.

“BabyJim was loved by so many people and it is really showing with the amount of support we are receiving, so thank you from our whole family we really do appreciate it.”

If you would like to get behind Zoe’s efforts to support the LRI, you can visit her fundraising page here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-babyjim-mccann