NUSU has announced it will be hosting a memorial on the 10th of December for Newcastle University Student Ed Farmer, who died after an initiation ceremony in December 2016.
The memorial service will begin at 5.30pm outside the Students’ Union, where there will live music performed by students, speeches and a memorial lightshow.
It has been confirmed that Ed parents will be in attendance, and Jeremy Farmer will be making a speech in memory of his son. Raff Marioni, President of Newcastle University Students Union, will also be speaking.
NUSU will be offering free hot chocolate and candles to light to those present at the half hour service, encouraging all students and staff to attend and raise awareness of Ed’s death.
The memorial event will be preceded by a rugby match held in partnership with the Agricultural Society. Kick-off is to take place at 1.30pm on the afternoon of the 10th of December at Heaton Medical ground, and is open for anyone to attend.
The match will see the 1st and 2nd Agricultural intramural rugby teams go head to head and is expected to have a large turnout. On the Facebook event for the match over two hundred people have already registered themselves as planning to attend.
Henry Richard, third year Agri-business management student and Agricultural RFC Captain commented:
‘The day has great significance for all involved, as a close friend of Ed, through the agricultural society I was soon to be a housemate of him. He was a fantastic friend to all, so this is a great way to finally celebrate his life’
Sports and societies have been encouraged to wear their university/union branded clothing to help create a sense of university community and remembrance.
NUSU also plans to distribute postcards to be filled out by students with messages of remembrance and reflection, with the hope of projecting some of the messages on the Students Union building during the lightshow.
The postcards feature a photo of Ed with a festive background, and the message on the front reads: on December 14th 2016 Ed Farmer tragically passed away after an initiation ceremony, he was a Newcastle student like all of us. Please join us outside the Students’ Union at 5.30pm on December 10th to light a candle and remember Ed.
On the back there is space for students to write their own message. The postcards are intended to be handed out during lectures next week to students and should be returned to any school office or the Student Union’s reception before the memorial.
The Courier spoke to NUSU’s President Raff Marioni and Athletic Union officer Maggie Elstob about the aims behind the event, and its significance.
When asked why the Union was holding the memorial Raff responded:
‘I think it’s really important to hold this memorial to raise awareness about Ed’s death. A lot of people either don’t know about it because it happened two years ago, so a lot of people graduated that year. This is raising awareness to all students of Newcastle currently, not just sports and societies, about the nature of Ed’s death and getting the message across to students about staying safe.
‘We’re not trying to be the fun police and restrict people’s university experience. The message we’re trying to get across is for students to realise that actions can have serious and heart-breaking ramifications. They can cause massive harm to families, they can impact their own lives and the lives of others. It’s about getting across the message to think twice about certain things, taking care of yourself and the people around you, and being more responsible.
It’s very rare that there’s an event where there’s the potential for the whole student body to come down as a community and reflect on a student of their own passing. I think this is the perfect opportunity to do that as we say a goodbye for Christmas.’
Maggie Elstob, Athletic Union Officer commented: ‘We’ve chosen to hold this event in memory of Ed Farmer, we think that it’s important that we remember Ed and send our students off for Christmas with the message to look after each other and look out for each other.[pullquote]We think that it’s important that we remember Ed and send our students off for Christmas with the message to look after each other - Maggie Elstob, AU Officer[/pullquote]
‘I’m hoping that a lot of clubs will come down wearing their kit, representing their sport. People seem to be very on board with the idea and I’ve had lots of clubs saying they are going to be there either for the rugby match or the memorial or both.’
When asked why a rugby match had been chosen as the pre-memorial event Maggie replied:
‘I think sport inherently brings people together. And Ed having been part of the Agricultural intramural team himself, I think it’s a fitting way to have a tribute to him. It’s just a nice way to bring people together and maybe hold something that could be continued in the future.’
Both officers encourage all students at Newcastle University to attend the event.