AN award winning Clydeview Academy pupil has vowed to continue his fight to make sure no child in Inverclyde is ever left alone to cope with grief or loss at school.

Greenock Telegraph:

Sixth year pupil Ben Kane, who lost his older brother five years ago, told the Tele that his campaign for better bereavement support is not finished.

Ben has just picked up his Rotary UK Young Citizen of the Year award alongside his classmate Nina Kirk, who is one of the country's leading young climate activists.

Ben, who set up a support group with the help of a teacher in Clydeview, has held talks with education chiefs about widening it out across all Inverclyde schools.

The double success of the two Clydeview Academy pupils was celebrated recently with a joint reception at the school to recognise two young people helping to make big changes in their own community and beyond.

Ben, 17 from Gourock, said: "I knew from my own experiences of loss what was needed, what wasn't there and what could have been better. I wanted to use that to help other people.

"I felt there was a real need for a bereavement support service in school. I wanted there to be a safe place in school for people to find comfort and talk about their grief. It is for people who have suffered grief or loss.

"I spoke to my school and I was helped by Mrs Elaine Tait, she had worked with the hospice and helped me a great deal to set it up."

For the last three years Ben has led the support group and made it somewhere welcoming for pupils to go for help.

Greenock Telegraph:

As he now leaves school and gets ready for a new chapter studying politics at Strathclyde University, he promises his work is not finished.

Ben added: "I don't like the term that I am leaving behind a legacy at the school, because that suggests we are finished. We have a long way to go yet.

"In Clydeview Academy we now have a group that has met for the last three years, people can come and go as they wish.

"When I leave there are a couple of people who want to keep it going.

"It is for people who have experienced loss in any way. I think the statistics speak for themselves as one in 29 pupils, that is one child in every class, will have experienced loss of a loved one.

"I felt it was needed even more than before after Covid, there was even a greater need because people were left alone with their grief."

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Ben recently met with MSP Stuart McMillan and his campaign for grieving children has been highlighted at Holyrood.

He has also spoken with education bosses and Inverclyde Council chief executive Louise Long, who were both at the reception.

He said: "I would like to see it set up in other schools in Inverclyde and we are looking at how that could happen."

Ben works closely with the Ardgowan Hospice's and Mind Mosaic to put his support in place.

The support group offers students activities and one to one sessions to help them feel supported during the traumatic stages of grief.

Modest Ben told the Tele: "It is not about the recognition personally, it is a great way of highlighting the campaign. But there is still so much more that I want to do."

At the reception education director Ruth Binks praised both Ben and Nina as well as speaking about the incredible work Gourock Rotary Club does to support local schools. 

Ben's school nominated him forGourock Rotary's Dr Sadhu Gupta award and then he went on to take the Rotary Young Citizen of the Year Award for the whole of the UK.

Rotary Young Citizen organiser Norman Pettigrew said: "Ben’s drive and determination with regard to supporting others who have lost someone is incredible and a real credit to him.

“Clydeview has left the marker down for the rest of Inverclyde and indeed Scotland to take note and ensure no child grieves alone.”