In November 2015, Finlay Church succumbed to a brain tumour after a brave battle. According to the Bromsgrove Standard, Just over a year later, local artist Jackie Nash completed and opened a memorial garden in his honour. She worked with Alvechurch Middle School where Fin had been a student.
Nash worked with the students at the middle school to design and construct the tribute to Fin’s memory. Inspired by drawings the students made, she created the overall layout of the garden. Naturally, she also gathered ideas such as Finlay’s favourite color from his parents.
Putting It All Together
Jackie created the molds for several mosaic stepping stones, leaving them blank. She then took these to Alvechurch to work with students on designing and creating the mosaics themselves. Many of the mosaics were designed by the students as well as Fin’s parents and family.
Completion and Opening
The stones were laid out in the memorial garden at Alvechurch Middle School so that teachers and students could easily access it. A private ceremony was held with students, staff, and family to unveil the finished project and dedicate it. Since then, many people have enjoyed visiting the garden and being reminded of Finlay Church and his journey.
Continuing to Inspire
Jackie Nash says she was inspired to create the memorial garden after hearing about his fine example. Young Fin spent his final year doing a lot to inspire other people. He staged a Guinness World Record event by gathering and lining up 15, 534 teddy bears, the longest ever. He was also awarded the Child of Courage award at the Pride of Birmingham Awards in 2015.
After his death, his parent undertook another Guinness World Record by lining up 5,471 hats, in echo of his record. His family and friends have also raised over ￡140,000 for brain tumour research through various fundraisers. They continue to raise more to this day.
The memorial garden in Fin’s honor continues to remind his community of his courage in the face of adversity. With mosaic stepping stones leading to a beautiful set of angel’s wings, it stands as a testament to this great young boy.