Ceremony remembers much-loved St Albans schoolgirl who died far too soon

Maddy's friends.

Maddy's friends. - Credit: Archant

Friends and family gathered at a tree-planting ceremony at a St Albans school in memory of a former pupil.

Maddy Hardman, 20, died on Tuesday December 29

Maddy Hardman, 20, died on Tuesday December 29 - Credit: Archant

A tree was planted and a friendship bench set up at St Albans Girls’ School (STAGS) in honour of Maddy Hardman, who died on December 29, 2015 a couple of months before her 21st birthday.

Maddy, who attended the school between 2006 and 2013, was diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension in 2014, which affects the lungs and the heart.

The tree-planting took place on Friday, February 24 at the school’s memorial garden in Sandridgebury Lane. The tree, which was donated by Bartlett Tree Experts, was chosen because it is known as the ‘Princess Tree’, and Maddy’s first email address was ‘Princess Maddy’. In spring it has pink and purple flowers, which were Maddy’s favourite colours.

Headteacher Margaret Chapman introduced the proceedings, followed by words and prayers from vicar Daniel McCarthy from Shenley, where Maddy lived with her parents.

Private messages from Maddy’s friends were collected on the day to be put in a decorative tin which will be buried under the tree, and pink and purple memory ribbons were given out to friends and family to tie on the bench or around the tree.

Maddy’s parents and grandparents also donated a friendship bench to thank the school for the happy memories and friends she made during her seven years there. The inscription on the bench reads: ‘Friends make you laugh a little louder, smile a little brighter and live a little better.’

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Colin and Susan Hardman, Maddy’s parents, said: “Reverend Daniel and Reverend Helen delivered a lovely service that had us laughing and crying in equal measures.

“The headteacher at STAGS, Margaret Chapman, and teachers were so welcoming. The planting of the Princess tree was handled very professionally by Bartlett Tree Experts and it was great to message Maddy and tie remembrance ribbons to both the tree and the friendship bench.

“It was a beautiful day to remember a beautiful girl, our daughter Maddy. We would like to thank all who contributed and attended.”

Maddy’s best friend Kate Jones set up a JustGiving page in Maddy’s memory, and a charity stall was set up in the STAGS hall to raise funds for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK.

To donate go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Maddyhardman