The family of a tragic five-year-old Cupar boy are taking the first steps towards creating a local centre for traumatised children in his memory.
Sam Jennings died suddenly of heart failure while enjoying a day out at Cairnie Fruit Farm eight years ago yesterday (Thursday).
His devastated mum, Donna Jennings, a dramatherapist and counsellor, was in the throes of setting up a charity at the time called FLOC (For the Love of a Child) and dedicated it to her precious son.
She opened a centre in war-torn Afghanistan called Sam’s House, where children and their mothers could relax and play, and earlier this year opened a second Sam’s House in Lebanon for youngsters caught up in the horrors of the war in Syria.
Now Donna is hoping to open a Sam’s House in Dundee, where traumatised children will have the chance to take part in facilitated play, art and craft activities and use music and stories as a means of self-expression.
“It’s still a vision at the moment,” said Donna.
“We’re still raising funds for the project in Lebanon.
“But there is a great need for such a facility here.
“Children suffer trauma and mental health problems for all kinds of reasons.”
Now Donna and her family – husband Tom (47), daughter Joy (16), who was just eight when Sam died; six-year-old Zoe and two-year-old Jacob – are all taking part in the Kiltwalk next month to raise money for FLOC.
With a buggy in tow for little Jacob, they’ll be taking part in the Wee Wander, a six-mile trek from Discovery Point to Monifieth.
Zoe was born two years after Sam died and Donna sadly suffered two miscarriages before her much longed-for son Jacob arrived.
The family are deeply religious and in 2014 Donna experienced a poignant moment when she and the then six week-old Jacob played the roles of Mary and Jesus in the Fife Nativity Play at Cairnie, near the spot where Sam died.
But she says that Jacob is ‘his own wee man’ and that Sam will always be in the family’s hearts.
Speaking after she set up Sam’s House in Lebanon earlier this year, Donna said: “We feel this is just the beginning and as more resources come in we will be able to build more and more Sam’s Houses across Lebanon, plus Turkey, and other parts of the world.
“We are also looking closer to home by establishing a Sam’s House for children and their families in Scotland as the needs are overwhelming.
“It’s so important for me and my family to see Sam’s House up and running as it keeps Sam’s memory alive for us as a family. It’s our tribute to a very special, beautiful, shiny and loving boy.” For more information, visit www. www.fortheloveofachild.org.uk.