He was a gift

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He was a gift

Teacher speaks glowingly of boy killed by garbage truck at tearful farewell

BY SHANAE STEWART
Observer staff reporter
stewarts@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, December 09, 2019

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BENJAMIN Bair, the seven-year-old boy who was was killed by an unmanned garbage truck on October 28, was yesterday described as a gift by his former teacher, Tanya Williams, at his funeral held at the North Street Seventh-day Adventist Church in downtown Kingston.

Williams said Bair stole her heart last year when she taught him in grade one at Clan Carthy Primary School in Kingston.

“...One day, at lunchtime, my head was down when I saw a pair of hands that caused me to look up. They were the biggest hands I had ever seen on a six-year-old. I looked up into Benjamin's face and smiled. Herein started my fascination with Benjamin,” Williams said.

“From that day he became my class model,” said the teacher.“The children adored Benjamin,” she said.

Williams also shared with the congregation that young Bair was an active member of the 4-H club at his school.

“Benjamin joined the 4-H Club in grade one and was our only uniformed boy. Every Friday morning he could be seen in his white shirt and green scarf. By day's end [the shirt] would be brown as he was such a playful and energetic child,” she said.

Williams continued: “Benjamin was at every club meeting and at every club event.

“At the end of the school year he earned the award for most disciplined boy and was placed among the top 10 boys.”

She then went on to describe him as her friend who was always checking in with her, even when he matriculated to grade two.

“Benjamin belonged to the teachers of Block C. He was the husband Miss Perrin always wanted, the clubite Miss McLeod nurtured, the student Mrs Forest Spence and I shared, and he was the son that I pretended to have,” Williams said.

Dr Grace McLean, acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, indicated at the funeral that the ministry is committed to providing the help that Benjamin's family will need going forward.

“Our support for the family will not end today. Both ministers (minister without portfolio with responsibility for education, youth and information Karl Samuda, and Alando Terrelonge, state minister in the ministry) are committed to providing the necessary support for the days ahead. The ministry will be here for you,” she said.

The ministry took care of the expenses for the funeral.

Bair was waiting to be picked up from school after dismissal on October 28 when a garbage truck crushed him to death.

Yesterday's funeral service was an emotional one for a number of attendees, especially Benjamin's mother, Japhene Campbell, who cried openly during the service and when the coffin was being placed in the hearse after the service.

The body at Dovecot Memorial Park.


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