Stevenage school raises over £500 in memory of former student

Kay Whiteman, 17, died after complications arose during surgery

Kay Whiteman, 17, died after complications arose during surgery - Credit: Archant

A school held a non-uniform day in memory of a student who died two years ago.

Students donated £1 each to charity to wear purple clothing to Marriotts School in Stevenage on Friday in memory of Kay Whiteman – a former student who died aged 17 in June 2012 while undergoing surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Saturday marked what would have been her 19th birthday.

Miss Whiteman suffered from pectus excavatum, a condition causing deformation of the ribs and sternum, and was undergoing treatment when complications arose. She was placed in an induced coma and died shortly thereafter.

Former student James Davis, who was engaged to Miss Whiteman at the time of her death, said: “I’m not sure whose idea it was but I thought it was a wonderful gesture. It’s nice to know that Kay is still being remembered two years later and that so many students still feel it important to commiserate her passing.”

School friend Helena Davey said: “Purple was always Kay’s favourite colour – people wore it to her funeral because they knew that’s what she would have wanted. I thought it was really lovely for the school to organise something to remember her by and that so many students, even those that didn’t know her, chose to take part. It was a great way to mark her birthday and I’m sure she would have been really pleased with all our efforts. All of her friends and family miss her so much.”

One of Kay’s former Marriotts teachers, Nicola Rees, said: “The school has decided to hold an annual event in Kay’s memory. The children enjoy having non-uniform days anyway but because this is that bit more personal - because she was one of our own - there were a huge number of people wanting to take part in this event. We’re very proud of everyone who took part.”

The school held a memorial gathering last year to mark what would have been Miss Whiteman’s 18th birthday. This year’s event raised £570 to be donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital.