‘An unimaginable blow’: Shock as York school student dies suddenly, aged 17

10 Dec 2020 @ 7.09 am
| News

A York school has been left in shock after the sudden death of a student.

Peter Woodmansey, 17, a student at Bootham School, died of septicaemia at Leeds General Infirmary on Saturday.

His death came less than three weeks after receiving a diagnosis of leukaemia and despite having responded well to early treatment.

Peter was head boy at the school. Head master Chris Jeffery said his death had come as an ‘unimaginable blow’ to his family and to his many friends in the school community.

Peter was the youngest of four children. His brothers and sister Stephen, Andrew and Sarah, also went to Bootham.

His mother Alison is a GP who has been working on the York Covid-19 response team, and his father Michael recently retired as vicar of Heworth.

‘A rare and precious gift’

Chris Jeffery. Photograph: Bootham School

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.

“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.”

Talented young man

The front of Bootham School. Photograph © Google Street View

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 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.