Edinburgh's Rudi Abbot to be remembered with memorial bench and tree at Towerbank Primary School

Rudi’s sister Iris will be starting at the same school this summer
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A young Hearts fan who died after an almost three-year-long battle with a rare brain tumour will be there in spirit on his little sister’s first day at school, with a special bench to be installed in his memory.

Rudi Abbot was just eight years old when he died in January, two and a half years after he was diagnosed with stage four pineoblastoma – an aggressive brain cancer which affects mainly children – in August 2020. In March last year people in Edinburgh and beyond raised more than £110,000 to send Rudi to the United States for life-saving treatment. But, when his cancer did not respond, his parents Ben and Coline made the difficult decision to bring him back to the Capital to spend his last Christmas surrounded by family.

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Five months on, and the community is once again rallying to raise money for Rudi – this time to install a fitting tribute to the inspirational youngster who was described as a “little warrior”. A memorial bench and tree are to be installed at Towerbank Primary School, where Rudi was a pupil. The bench will be fitted during the summer holidays, in time for Rudi’s five-year-old sister Iris’ first day at the school, with the tree set to be planted in autumn.

Rudi Abbot is set to be remembered with a special memorial at Towerbank Primary SchoolRudi Abbot is set to be remembered with a special memorial at Towerbank Primary School
Rudi Abbot is set to be remembered with a special memorial at Towerbank Primary School

"It’s all still pretty raw, but it’s great to have this happening,” said Ben, 47. “At one point we were tempted to put Iris to a different school because it’s going to be so weird taking Iris and Rudi not being there. But this is going to make a big difference for Iris at school, it makes a big difference to be able to do that and it means she’ll have this beautiful memorial to her brother in the playground when she starts school.”

He added: “Rudi’s classmates from Primary 5 will actually be the new Primary 1’s ‘buddies’ for their first year - so the timing is all quite emotional.”

The project, which Ben has been working with Towerbank headteacher Alasdair Friend to plan, will see the bench painted in rainbow colours and a plaque installed at the site. It will cost around £6,000 to complete – almost half of which has already been raised through a GoFundMe page.

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