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PLEA TO SUPPORT OWEN MEMORIAL; Church fair called off to avoid clash with fundraiser for drowning victim.

Byline: By Steve Evans

EVERYONE on Nuneaton's largest housing estate is being asked to support a memorial event planned for nine-year-old drowning victim Owen Day.

Churchgoers in Camp Hill are postponing their own annual fundraiser so that parishioners can instead help to honour a boy whose death has stunned the close-knit former mining community.

Members of the St Mary and St John's Parish Church in Camp Hill were due to turn out in force for their annual church fair next Saturday.

The event had been pencilled in for months.

But after learning that the Owen Day Memorial Fun Day is being held in Camp Hill on the same day, parish community development worker Sam Margrave says they are offering their support by pulling the plug on their own event.

A special announcement will be made at Sunday Mass tomorrow, urging everyone in the community to remember Owen.

Fishing-mad Owen, who lived in Hillcrest Road and was a pupil at Camp Hill Primary School, drowned in a balancing lake off Queen Elizabeth Road in June.

He got into difficulties after swimming out to retrieve a fishing float.

In the wake of the tragedy, neighbours are planning a special tribute to Owen by placing a memorial bench near the spot where he lost his life. The fun day next Saturday will help raise funds for the bench.

Sam Margrave, parish community development worker based in Camp Hill, said the church fair at St Mary and St John's had been switched to September 1 to avoid a clash.

He said: "Once we heard about this event, we wanted to show our support for the family and friends of Owen Day.

"The fun day has been organised by local residents and we feel it is good to see the community coming together.

"What happened will still be fresh in the hearts and minds of many.

"As the local church, we want to be there for local people as they come to terms with this sad loss and the events of that day on which we saw a tragic accident on our own doorstep, with the loss of a child."

An announcement will be made during Sunday Mass, encouraging people to support the fun day in memory of Owen.

Mr Margrave said: "We encourage others, too, to attend as a sign of support for the event and its aim - to take time to remember, to reflect and to raise money for a fitting tribute."

CAPTION(S):

WORTHWHILE CAUSE... Parish community worker Sam Margrave (top left) says a church fundraiser has been shelved to give full focus to a memorial event on the same day for drowning victim Owen Day (left) which will raise funds for a bench at the lake where he died (above)
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 11, 2007
Words:459
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