The family and friends of a seven-year-old boy who died following surgery to reduce a brain tumour have asked Emmaus to create special ‘buddi’ benches in his memory.

Ted Buddi Waring was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was just seven-months-old, which meant several hospital operations and chemotherapy.

Ted developed fluid on the brain, which required further treatment and he became registered blind because of the build-up of pressure from the tumour. Ted also needed daily injections and medication for kidney, thyroid and hormone-related conditions.

Throughout his life, Ted maintained a positive attitude and regularly talked to people to try to cheer them up wherever he went, said his mum Leanne.

Tackling loneliness and improving mental health

Leanne said: “He changed the outlook of family and friends and challenged my outlook on life. He gave other people strength. He has made me stop and see what other people are going through and have five minutes for other people who might really need a chat and may not haven’t spoken to anyone else that day.

“That’s what we are trying to do by creating ‘buddi’ benches. The idea is to make recognised places for people to sit down and talk, to tackle loneliness and improve mental health. They’re named ‘buddi’ benches because that was Ted’s middle name.”

After an operation to debulk the size of the tumour, Ted developed complications and tragically died at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in March last year.

As a tribute to Ted, his family and friends began fundraising and started working with local prisons as well as our workshop here at Emmaus Bolton to create specially-sized benches for local schools, painted in bright colours by the prison to show they are a special place for someone to sit if they need to talk and are looking for a friend.

Buddi benches in primary schools and football club

In total 11 ‘Buddi’ benches have now been installed in Bolton primary schools and one in a local football club where Ted’s brother plays and Ted was a mini mascot, with many more planned.

Leanne said: “Ted couldn’t walk past someone without talking to them and making them feel better about their day. If he saw a homeless person, he had such a heart, he couldn’t walk past them. He was always asking people how they were.”

“Ted would have approved of Emmaus Bolton making the benches because the charity is for people not feeling like a significant member of society. It’s about making sure everyone feels wanted, needed and valued.”

Emmaus Bolton companions have the opportunity to learn woodwork when they come to live at the homeless community as part of a package of long-term support. The charity then takes the benches to the prison for painting, following which they are installed on site.

Tony Stephenson, Director of Emmaus Bolton, said: “As a homelessness charity we are very aware of the feelings of social exclusion and isolation people can feel when they are pushed to the edges of society. Our Emmaus community is keen support Leanne, her friends and her family to create, deliver and install these benches to help them build this special way for people to connect and remember Ted.”

In memory of her son, Leanne and her family and friends are setting up a charity Be More Ted and are organising several fundraising drives to raise money for more benches. To find out more about how you can help or ask for a bench to be made for your local school or park, please email [email protected].