Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Family tribute to wall death pupil

The family of a pupil killed by a collapsing wall at her school have spoken of their loss, saying that the youngster "dreamed of being prime minister".

Keane Wallis-Bennett, a 12-year-old pupil at Edinburgh's Liberton High School, died when a modesty wall in the school's PE block collapsed yesterday morning.

Her family said: "Keane will be sadly missed by all her family and friends. She was our princess who dreamed of being prime minister. But failing that, a beautician.

"She loved her girlfriends and her days out shopping with lunches and all things girly. She recently attended her first under-18 disco and loved every second of it and was excited to be going to see One Direction in concert."

Liberton High School head teacher Stephen Kelly also issued a statement paying tribute to Keane and expressing shock at her death.

He said: "Keane was an excellent pupil who had a bright and bubbly personality and got on well with others in class.

"She was a popular team player, who took an active role in projects such as the Junior Awards Scheme Scotland. She showed a lot of sporting ability and was really eager to contribute to the school, for example by clearing litter and planting bulbs in the school grounds.

"She had a real presence in class and her friends and my staff are deeply shocked and upset at what has happened. I am very grateful for the support that our school community is receiving as we come to terms with this tragic event.

"I would also like to thank the emergency services who attended yesterday and everyone for their messages of support at what is a very difficult time for Keane's family and the whole school community.

"Counselling staff are continuing to support our staff and pupils and I would encourage any pupils who want to talk to someone to take up the help available."

A carpet of bright flowers has been laid under the entrance sign to Liberton High School in tribute to Keane.

Cuddly toys, cards and letters have also been left among the flowers. One message read: "You are missed by so many people, you don't deserve to die this young."

Another hand-written letter said: "All we have is memories and your picture in a frame, your memory is a keepsake which will never part."

Liberton Northfield church, just yards from the school, opened this afternoon for pupils, friends and members of the local community to reflect on the death.

A book of condolence has been opened and candles lit by visitors.

Liberton chaplain Reverend Cammy Mackenzie said it would remain open over the next few days to give people the opportunity to talk to someone, or reflect privately on the events.

He said: ''We recognise the impact this is having on the community and we will be there for anyone who needs us. The church will remain open for as many days as it is required.''

The school is in the south of Edinburgh and has 65 staff and 650 pupils.

First Minister Alex Salmond visited in December for a talk by astronaut Chris Hadfield. He said a "rigorous investigation" will be held into the incident.

"It's really tragic circumstances and my heart goes out to the family and friends," he said.

"A proper investigation will takes its course. Yes, there was another incident in the school but at first sighting it doesn't seem related to this tragic occurrence."

The incident has prompted a raft of inspections of similar structures to prevent any further collapses.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the school had faced "difficulties with fragmenting and fraying to the fabric" of the building.

But he said he did not believe there were problems with health and safety at the school.

Hundreds of tributes to Keane have appeared on social media sites since the incident.

Those left on Facebook included: "Sleep tight, beautiful."

Another message read: "No child should go to school and not return home, RIP Keane Grace Wallis-Bennett. Horrible news."


From Belfast Telegraph