Mother thanks Scarborough residents for tributes to her son on Peasholm bench

A mother from Leeds who was unable to visit her son's memorial bench on the 15th anniversary of his death has thanked Scarborough residents for laying flowers there.

Friday, 15th May 2020, 10:54 am
The bench covered in tributes. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

Julie Spence, from Leeds, visits Scarborough every year for the anniversary of her eight-year-old son Callum Lister's death.

After appealing on a social media group for someone to sit on the bench on Wednesday, Julie said she was 'overwhelmed' by the hundreds of messages she received.

Throughout the day many people walked past the bench, sat down for a while, left flowers, messages and teddy bears and shared pictures and videos with Julie on social media.

The bench in Peasholm Park. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

Her original post attracted over 360 comments.

"My request was just for someone to sit on the bench for a while," Julie said, "But the response was amazing, one person put flowers there and it just escalated.

"All day people have been messaging me, there are so many lovely people in mine and my son's favourite place.

"The day itself is hard anyway as you can imagine and to not be able to go visit Callum's favourite place on his anniversary was even more heartbreaking."

The memorial bench. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

In usual circumstances Julie would visit the cemetery in Leeds with family and then get the train to Scarborough to visit the bench and sit on the beach.

However, although lockdown travel restrictions were eased on Wednesday, people are still being advised not to use public transport so Julie and her family couldn't make the trip.

Callum was hit by a vehicle on May 12 2005 and died in hospital the following day.

As Scarborough had been his favourite place, and he had spent his last holiday in the town the October before his death, the family chose the town as the place for a memorial bench.

Callum Lister. Photo from Julie Spence.

Julie originally wanted the bench to be near the seafront but was told there wasn't enough space so instead chose Peasholm Park.

Callum's bench is near the putting green, a fitting place as he used to enjoy playing golf and going on the dragon boats.

Julie said her family were 'crossing everything' that they could come and visit in July on Callum's birthday.

"Wednesday was a hard day but everyone in Scarborough made it so much easier," she said, "It was a special place for him and it's a special place for us.

Callum Lister. Photo from Julie Spence.

"Myself and my family are overwhelmed and extremely grateful to the love and generosity the people of Scarborough have shown.

"When we are able to return I'm going to be meeting up with a few people, I've made a few lifelong friends through this I think.

"The people of Scarborough did my son proud that day and I will be eternally grateful."

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