THE Orange Anglican Grammar School community rallied behind Will Jeffress’ family while he fought for his life in hospital, and now they are repaying the generosity.
Will was in kindergarten in 2012 when he was involved in a serious accident that landed him in intensive care for three weeks.
Doctors worked to save the little boy, but it was the school community that kept his family’s spirits alive.
The school raised thousands of dollars for the Jeffress family and for a long time parents Kate and Dave were not sure what to do with all the money.
They had no idea the mums and dads of Orange Anglican Grammar School were reaching into their pockets in a bid to support one of their own.
Ultimately the family decided to donate the money back to the school to build a kitchen garden.
The garden is named after Will, but it is symbolic of the bond within the community, the support families give each other and is representative of the love people share when someone is in need.
Will’s mother Kate Jeffress said it was every little text message, phone call and card sent to Will by his classmates that made all the difference.
“It’s been a wonderful success ... it’s amazing how productive and cohesive a community can be"
“It’s just beautiful the way all the families supported us,” she said.
“Will’s classmates stopped reading a book because they didn’t want Will to miss out on the ending. We feel very honoured that it [the garden] is named after Will but it isn’t about Will.”
Hundreds of volunteers showed up at working bees to get the garden ready for its official opening during FOOD Week on April 5.
Principal Len Elliott said the garden was about remembering how good people can be when they band together.
“It’s been a wonderful success ... it’s amazing how productive and cohesive a community can be,” he said.
Will is in Year 2 at Orange Anglican Grammar, is happy, healthy and Mrs Jeffress said he learned something very humbling while he was unwell.
“It’s a big lesson to learn when you are six years old and you’re missing from school to know all of your friends are thinking about you and missing you.”
She said even two years on, she could not thank the Orange Anglican Grammar School community enough for their emotional support, which meant the world to the Jeffress family.
“The family atmosphere they create and the way they support everyone is just amazing,” she said.