TRIBUTES have been paid to “a joyful little boy” who touched the lives of so many in East Lothian.

Seven-year-old Benjamin Davey died at Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children after suffering heart failure on Friday.

The youngster, who had a number of health conditions, was well known in his home town of Dunbar but also further afield.

His mum Alex, who works with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, said: “Benjamin was a joyful little boy.

“He was so uncomplicated and he had so much love.

“He saw the beauty in the simplest things and he taught us so much.

“I could not be more proud of him.

“His favourite things were to sit under the trees and watch the sunlight coming through the leaves.

“He loved to play with a balloon and watch it go up and down, and ride in the car and listen to the rain on the roof.”

East Lothian Courier: Tributes have been paid to Benjamin Davey, who died at the end of last week

Benjamin (pictured above), whose younger sister Caitlin turns five today (Thursday), attended The Hub at Sanderson’s Wynd Primary School, Tranent.

The youngster had complex needs and Mrs Davey said: “He had an undiagnosed genetic condition that caused his brain to not develop properly.

“He had quadriplegic cerebral palsy, epilepsy, he was visually impaired, he was fed through a tube and he had a lot of problems in his chest, which ultimately caused his death.”

The youngster, who was non-verbal, was taken to the hospital with a cold last Thursday and passed away the following day.

Mrs Davey praised staff at the hospital, describing them as “absolutely fantastic”.

She added: “They were just wonderful. From the moment that his heart arrested, they could not have tried to do more.

“They allowed my little girls into critical care to see him and they just looked after him phenomenally well.”

Mrs Davey, who lives on Dunbar’s North Road with husband Richard and daughters Caitlin and Jackie, eight, had been overwhelmed by the response of the community since Benjamin’s death.

She told the Courier: “I just want to say thank you to the community, who have just rallied round us.

“We have had hundreds of phone calls and messages of support from the school, doctors’ surgery and all our neighbours.

“We are so lucky to live in Dunbar and feel very loved by the community at this time.

“Benjamin touched so many people – it is not just our loss, a lot of people have been really grieving too.

“It has been horrible breaking the news to so many people but lovely to know how many people loved him as well.”

East Lothian Courier: Tributes have been paid to Benjamin Davey, who died at the end of last week

Funeral arrangements are still being finalised.

Clare Palmer-Fairbairn, depute headteacher at Sanderson’s Wynd Primary School, paid tribute.

She said: “With specialist support from both school and NHS staff, Benji flourished and taught us all so much.

“He communicated with others in a variety of ways.

“With his wonderful smiles, wise knowing looks and sometimes very serious expressions, Benji often voiced what he thought about his learning especially when it involved messy experiences!

Patient and loving

“He learned to use his cheek to operate a switch to share messages from home or make his favourite light spinner whizz in the sensory room.

“Benji played a shepherd in our whole school virtual nativity, he was a regular Star of the Week at assembly, he could play the ukulele, he enjoyed his holiday club and he made a very smart Beaver Scout.

“Benji was always patient, loving and showed great courage.

“We will miss Benji so much but feel incredibly proud of everything he achieved and encouraged us to be.

“It has been a privilege to have been part of his amazing journey and through it all, Benji and his wonderful family have helped us learn so much about love, learning and our spirit of inclusion.”

Sophie Pilgrim, director of charity Kindred, was among those paying tribute to Benjamin.

The charity had worked alongside the family in a bid to see parents of children with life-limiting conditions given priority for a Covid-19 vaccine.

Mrs Pilgrim said: “Some children just seem extraordinary and you could always tell in his photographs with his happy smile that, even though he had high-level needs, to see a child who is obviously happy in spite of the fact they have got the most significant needs is a really inspiring thing.”

Pippa Swan, chairwoman of Dunbar Community Council, had worked alongside Mrs Davey and her family in a bid to improve access for all at Belhaven Bay.

Currently, people visiting the beach have two choices when they step onto the sands: to cross the Biel Burn, they can either wade through the water or use the Bridge to Nowhere.

However, neither option is ideal for people with mobility issues, wheelchairs or buggies.

Mrs Swan offered her condolences to the family and said: “Alex and Benji were the inspiration for the access for all project and the changing places project at Dunbar Swimming Pool.

“I feel heartbroken that we were not able to make better progress at Belhaven before Benji died but I am just as determined as ever to make these things happen.”