Best of Broxtowe Borough Awards 2017: Oliver’s touching tribute to Josh Boothman family
A classmate of Josh Boothman – the schoolboy who lost his life in the River Erewash – has been recognised for his efforts to help his friend’s bereaved family.
The community of Stapleford was left devastated when 13-year-old Josh’s body was found in the river near Oakfield Drive on September 24, 2016.
The youngster had entered the water, but did not come out. Sadly, three hours later, police divers recovered his body.
Well-wishers rallied around Josh’s family, raising money to help them through their difficult time, and also for a memorial bench for Josh.
Among those was Oliver Murdock, 14, who was in the same class as Josh at George Spencer Academy.
Oliver, who previously described Josh as “always having a smile on his face”, helped to organise a park run at Bramcote Park to raise funds.
Now the youngster, also of Stapleford, has been nominated for a Best of Broxtowe Borough Award, a scheme ran by the Post and Broxtowe Borough Council to reward the area’s unsung heroes.
Oliver told the Post: “I feel pleased and happy to be nominated, because it’s an honour.
“I like organising things like the run because I find it interesting. It was hard – it took a week to organise the actual fun run.
“We raised £8,900 in total for his family.”
Oliver has been nominated for the Young Achiever category, by Jason Cockerham, club secretary with Stapleford Town Football Club (Juniors), which Oliver attends.
Jason said: “On hearing the tragic news of his friend’s death, rather than mourn the loss, Oliver set out to help the family provide the best send-off, organising a run for Josh.
“Oliver was tireless and his determination to help as much as he could was infectious, many of his friends helped him in the build-up to the day, distributing leaflets and putting up posters.
“This achievement is even more remarkable as it was all done in a little over one week and with very little adult help.
“The whole community is very proud of what he, and his friends, did and we would like to show this appreciation by nominating him for this award.”
Oliver’s proud mum, Caroline Bilbie, told the Post that her son and Josh had both started at Stapleford’s William Lilley Infant and Nursery School together, and added: “We were all very upset when the tragedy happened.
“It was just Oliver’s way of showing that he cared.”
The award category is sponsored by Central College Nottingham, which has supported the Best of Broxtowe Borough Awards for the past two years and has a centre on Chilwell High Road offering a range of courses including construction, hair and beauty and GCSEs.
Chris Stephenson, marketing and communications manager at the college, said: “The college’s whole ethos is about encouraging young people to succeed and achieve their full potential so this category is the perfect fit for us.
It’s fantastic to be able to recognise young people as positive role models in their local community and look forward to hearing their inspirational stories.”
The deadline for nominations is Friday, May 5 and judging takes place on Tuesday, May 16.
The awards ceremony will take place on June 8 and will be compered by the BBC’s Mark Dennison.