Family hopes to build playground in Zayden's memory

THE family of murdered Bendigo baby Zayden Veal-Whitting is hoping to have a playground built in his memory.

The memorial playground, to be called Where Angels Play, will be a bright, happy space allowing the community to remember a happy little boy as he was, rather than with overwhelming sadness and shock.

Zayden's aunty, Angie Whitting, father James Whitting and stepmother Michelle Kneebone are soon meeting with City of Greater Bendigo councillors in the hope of their plan coming to fruition - but they also need help from the community.

"We think this is a good way for people to remember Zayden by,'' Angie said.

"It's so nobody forgets him, but also for his brother Xavier to have a happy place to go and remember his little brother.''

Zayden was killed in his cot in the early hours of June 15, 2012. Burglar Harley Hicks was out committing a series of burglaries that night, when he entered Zayden's home and bludgeoned him to death with a home-bade baton.

Hicks was found guilty of Zayden's murder by a Supreme Court jury in April and last month sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 32 years. He has sought leave to appeal his sentence.

But Zayden's family wants the community to have a happy space that helps take away the sadness of the last two years.

They want the playground to be in memory of all children who have died, giving their families and friends somewhere to go to share love and happy times.

"It needs to be bright and fun, to reflect Zayden's personality,'' Angie said.

On a Facebook page set up to help raise funds for the playground, Zayden's family writes of a bright, happy child who was 'learning so fast for his age .... he was even taking his first steps'.

"He had the most brightest, beautiful face you would ever see and the most loving family anyone could ever ask for.

"But someone has taken him away from us and us away from him.

"We wish to raise funds to go towards a playground dedicated to the memory of Zayden ... also for a lot of other parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, family and friends that have lost a loved one, where we can all go and share our love for all the angels out there.''

The family has started fundraising and has this week placed fundraising tins in various businesses throughout Bendigo. They're also selling yellow wristbands, but hoping to organise a major event to raise the funds needed.

Donations can be made to Zayden's Memorial fund: BSB 08 3704, account number 83-900-6969. Yellow wristbands are available through the Zayden's Memorial Playground *where angels play* Facebook page.


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