STUDENTS and staff at a York school are mourning the sudden death of the school’s Head Boy.
Peter Woodmansey, 17, a student at Bootham School, died of septicaemia at Leeds General Infirmary last Saturday, less than three weeks after receiving a diagnosis of leukaemia and despite having responded well to early treatment.
Chris Jeffery, head master at the independent Quaker school in Bootham, said Peter’s death had come as an ‘unimaginable blow’ to his family and to his many friends in the Bootham community.
“It is hard for our students to have to face such loss at such a young age and in such circumstances, but they have supported each other and Peter’s family magnificently over recent days,” he said.
Peter was the youngest of four children, all of whom have attended the school.
His mother Alison is a GP in the city who has been working on the local Covid-19 response team, and his father Michael has only very recently retired as Vicar of Heworth.
Peter is also mourned by his three siblings Stephen, Andrew and Sarah.
Mr Jeffery said: “The tributes paid to Peter by his teachers and his very many friends have been deeply touching and heartfelt.
“His inherent kindness, the way his enthusiasm for his studies rubbed off on others around him, and his ability to make friendships with all sorts of people have been constantly remarked upon in recent days.
“It is uncanny how many people have spoken about how Peter was the first person to make them feel at home when the joined the school; that is a rare and precious gift.
“He will leave a huge hole in the lives of many, and the hearts of the Bootham community go out to his family at this terrible time.
“It is tragic that such a fine young man should leave us at such a young age. Peter had such a deep desire to use his life to make the world around him better.
“That world can ill afford to lose a young life of such rich potential and which would undoubtedly have had such a positive impact for good”.
He said that as well as being chosen as Bootham’s Head Boy, Peter was a talented musician and sportsman.
He sang in the school choir, played French Horn, was one of the school’s leading tennis players and a loyal member of the First XI football team.
In 2017 he was part of a group that went on an exchange with another Quaker school, Sidwell Friends in Washington DC.
He was predicted to get top A Level grades next summer and had already received three offers to read History and Archaeology at university next year.
In addition Peter was a committed and active York City fan, and the club paid tribute to him in their on-line commentary at the start of Tuesday night’s game against Kettering Town.
Peter’s funeral will take place at 1.30pm on Thursday December 17 at Trinity Methodist Church in Monkgate.
The funeral cars will drive to the church via Bootham School, where staff and students will be participating in a live stream within their school bubbles in the Bootham Meeting Hall.
That stream will be available widely for all who will not be able to attend due to Tier 2 restrictions.
Details will be available from Co-op Funeral Services and through Bootham School social media channels.
Peter’s family is inviting anyone who would care to do so to stand on the route between Portland Street and Monkgate at that time.