A PRIMARY school has been successful in bidding for a giraffe sculpture to have as a special memorial for a reverend close to its heart.

Kempsey Primary School won the Girafficus statue at the Worcester Stands Tall Live Auction on Thursday evening at drp Group in Hartlebury. Parents of children at the school had crowd funded to get the giraffe as a memorial for Rev Canon Matthew Baynes, the husband of the headteacher Briony Baynes.

Mrs Baynes said: "Last night when we were at the auction, so many parents and friends and family tuned in to the live feed and there was a virtual explosion of joy from everyone when we won Girafficus. The messages just came flooding in through every social media site and it was, quite honestly, like being surrounded by warmth – even though we were sobbing. (all of us) My sister said it is the first time I have smiled in two weeks since Matthew died."

Canon Baynes was a big part of Kempsey Primary School and the Kempsey community. He was part of many of the schools events and formed relationships with the staff and parents.

Canon Baynes received a kidney from his wife, in a living donor transplant. Although the operation went well, Canon Baynes later contracted liver cancer. He died in the early hours of Friday, September 28. He had been cared for at St Richards Hospice and spent the last week of his life there.

Mrs Baynes said: "They treated him with such kindness and compassion; they gave him back his dignity and eased not only his pain but his soul. And, most importantly, they allowed us precious time as a family to sit round his bed, to laugh a little, to remember and to tell him how very much we love him and how we will miss him every day for the rest of our lives."

The giraffe cost the school £6000 at the auction which raised money for St Richard's Hospice and the left over money from the parents crowd funding campaign will be spent on a memorial plaque.

The giraffe will be collected and delivered on Tuesday by Warren's Removals who have offered this service free of charge.

In a letter sent out to all the parents at Kempsey Primary School, Mrs Baynes wrote: "I would like to especially thank Jade Hudspith and Tracey Were who came up with this idea, and who made last night an evening I will never forget."