A community is mourning the tragic loss of an ‘intelligent and popular’ schoolboy who died after he was shot with an air gun pellet.
Ben Wragge, 13, of Thurston, passed away on Sunday, May 1 following an incident at an address in the village.
Two teenagers were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and have been bailed until June 16 pending further enquiries.
Hundreds of tributes have been paid to the ‘extremely likeable’ Thurston Community College student through social media while flowers were placed outside the school.
Friends and colleagues of his mum Claire have also set up an online fund-raising page which has already generated thousands of pounds to help support her.
Thurston College principal Helen Wilson said it is a ‘heart-breaking time’ for the school, village and wider community.
She said: “We are deeply saddened by the sudden death of Ben Wragge. Ben was a mature and intelligent young man. As a member of Year 9 and Penrose House, he was an extremely likeable character, whose calm and respectful demeanour made him popular across the college. Ben will be sadly missed by his friends and staff. The aftermath of this tragedy will be felt throughout our entire community. Our immediate priority is to provide support for those students affected. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Ben’s family and friends at this time.”
Assemblies were held on Tuesday morning to pay tribute to Ben.
His mum Claire is a healthcare assistant at West Suffolk Hospital and her colleagues on ward G4 have rallied together to organise a collection at work and online.
Yesterday, the JustGiving page had raised nearly £3,000 after being shared across social media.
Colleague and friend Oonagh O’Sullivan, who has known Claire for seven years, said: “The amount is above and beyond what we ever thought and we’re really grateful to everyone. It’s just such a loss - at least this will show her how much support there is for her.
“He was such a sweet and well liked boy. His mother’s pride and joy. No mother should ever have to bury their child, especially one so young. We are all just devastated for her and for Ben’s (two) sisters.”
Ben played for Stowmarket Rugby Club, in Chilton Way, which will open on Sunday (May 8) from noon to 2pm for people to sign a book of condolence for his family.
His coach Neil Cooper said: “He was a progressing young player doing very well. We will miss Ben’s respectfulness, politeness and the general happiness he gave all those around him.” To donate, visit https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/kerri-borrett