Penguin tribute to pupil who ‘was our sunshine’

Date published: 4 July 2024

A sculpture in this summer’s public art trail around Worcester will remember a six-year-old who died in a car crash in February this year.

The great Waddle of Worcester will feature a penguin chick called ‘Little Leo’ which celebrates the life of Leo Painter, a pupil at Abigail’s Place School.  Staff and children at Abigail’s Place have decorated the sculpture to reflect the happiness Leo brought to them all.

“Leo was our sunshine. He brought joy and light into the hearts of everyone he met with a mischievous sparkle in his eye.  Understandably we’ve all felt a great deal of sadness following the crash, but it felt only right that our sculpture captured the positivity that Leo emanated,” said Sally Yafai, Therapeutic Lead at Abigail’s Place.

“Painted in bright, warming colours, our Little Leo sculpture also embodies the spirit of Abigail’s Place – togetherness, unconditional love and the wisdom that the sun is always shining even on the saddest, grey day.”

Little Leo, which has been sponsored by Pyramid Care Fostering Services, is one of eighty penguins which will waddle into the city on 22 July before departing again on 15 September.  A Wild in Art event, being brought to the city by St Richard’s Hospice, the project builds on hugely successful giraffe and elephant trails in 2018 and 2021 which, combined, raised more than £700,000 for the Worcestershire hospice after costs.

Sara Matthews, Business Development Manager for St Richard’s, said: “Leo’s tragic death, alongside the driver and travel assistant, brought sadness to many across the county but particularly to those who knew and loved them most.

“Painting a sculpture in memory of their friend, Leo, and remembering all the love and laughter he brought with him is an important part of the school’s grief journey. At the end of the trail their penguin will return to them as its forever home and a lasting tribute to a lovely little boy.”

The great Waddle of Worcester is supported by Presenting Partners; Crowngate, DRPG, Worcester City Council and Worcestershire Ambassadors, Community and Education Partner; Worcester BID and Media Partners; the Worcester News and BBC Hereford & Worcester.

You can follow the great Waddle of Worcester at:, and

While all 40 large penguins have now been snapped up, some sponsorship opportunities remain. To play a part in the great Waddle of Worcester call Sara Matthews, Business Development Manager, on 01905 763963, or email [email protected]


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To discuss sponsorship opportunities, call Sara Matthews, Business Development Manager, on 01905 763963, or email [email protected]

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