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Father unveils lasting tribute to tragic son at Newmarket nursery




A little boy, whose death in Newmarket two years ago shocked the nation, has been remembered on what would have been his sixth birthday with the unveiling of a memorial bench at the under fives’ group where he a popular pupil.

Abhay Rao was killed two years ago at his family’s home in Park Lane by his mother, Snehashree Sudarshan, who then took her own life.

On Wednesday, Abhay’s father, Ashok, was at All Saints’ Under Fives when he spoke movingly of the son he lost.

Ashok Rao with Mateo Ababii, Moize Muhammed, Charlie Barlow, Aleena Shears-Kargbo and Imogen Tideswell, with Abhay’s memorial bench.
Ashok Rao with Mateo Ababii, Moize Muhammed, Charlie Barlow, Aleena Shears-Kargbo and Imogen Tideswell, with Abhay’s memorial bench.

“We don’t want whatever happened on that day to be how Abhay is remembered,” he said. “We want to show people how to love as he showed me how to love.”

He said the dedication of a special buddy bench in Abhay’s memory with a plaque bearing the words ‘fearless, gentle, and kind personified’, meant everything to him.

“He was so happy here,” said Mr Rao. “He was always so excited to go to school. It is where he learned a lot and this bench will last for a long while just as I hope will the memories of Abhay.”

Abhay Rao celebrating his fourth birthday. Picture: Ashok Rao
Abhay Rao celebrating his fourth birthday. Picture: Ashok Rao

Caroline McKay, early years’ practitioner at the group, said: “Today is Abhay’s birthday and the perfect day to celebrate his life. We often talk of what we miss most in our loved one’s life and we celebrate what was important and unique in this life.

There will always be little reminders of Abhay that pop up unexpectedly in our thoughts and recently even a simple drawing was found.

“Today is a chance to celebrate all that is good and innocent in childhood and will remain in our memory.”

Abhay Rao at a playground near his Newmarket home. Picture: Ashok Rao
Abhay Rao at a playground near his Newmarket home. Picture: Ashok Rao

Mr Rao, who works for the Arm computing company in Cambridge, organised a fund-raising campaign for the pre-school in his son’s memory and, supported by his employer, raised £6,800.

The money will be used to support a lasting pupils’ monthly award for kindness, with the winner able to buy a toy of their choice, and Abhay’s birthday will continue to be celebrated every year with muffins.

A second plaque over the group’s main building, remembering Abhay, was unveiled by his best friend, six-year-old Charlie Barlow, who is now a pupil at neighbouring All Saints’ Primary School.

Ashok Rao with Mateo Ababii, Moize Muhammed, Charlie Barlow, Aleena Shears-Kargbo and Imogen Tideswell, with Abhay’s memorial bench.
Ashok Rao with Mateo Ababii, Moize Muhammed, Charlie Barlow, Aleena Shears-Kargbo and Imogen Tideswell, with Abhay’s memorial bench.

And all the youngsters celebrated with cup cakes provided by The Bakery run by Ben Cockhill at the National Horseracing Museum.

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