Plans progressing for Jeffrey Baldwin memorial

Bench and bronze statue to be placed in Greenwood Park

For some people, Jeffrey Baldwin is a superhero.

He spent the last years of his life locked in a cold bedroom. He starved to death in 2002.

A coroner's inquest about the case wrapped up Friday, with the jury making more than 100 recommendations to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

In their final comments, they talked about creating a memorial in Jeffrey's honour.

Todd Boyce is doing just that.

"I want to make sure that Jeffrey is never forgotten," said Boyce. "Just the thought of nobody ever knowing who he was made me really sad."

The father of four from Ottawa says with the help of the community, they're planning a bronze bench and statue of Jeffrey in Greenwood Park, near the home where he spent his final days.

Jeffrey will be cast as a superhero on the bench, an idea that came from Jeffrey's father's testimony at the inquest.

"He talked about how his favourite memory was of Jeffrey was when he was a toddler in his care, jumping around the house in his superman costume."

Waterloo-based artist and sculptor Ruth Abernethy will be beginning the preliminary work this week.

"She has some photos of Jeffrey, she's just analyzing them and then she's going to start the mould."

Once it's done, it will be sent to the foundry, Artcast, where it will be made into bronze.

An online fundraising campaign has already raised more than $36,000. "We received donations from all over the world," said Boyce. "From Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Spain, all over the place, which is fantastic."

At the time the campaign was started, the goal was $25,000. Boyce says at that time, they were only planning for a statue of Jeffrey.

They've since added the bronze bench for Jeffrey to stand on. Boyce is estimating they'll need around $45,000 to get get it done.

"We're still doing some fundraising," he said.

They will be holding a gala event Mar. 1 at the Sterling Room in the Distillery District.

Boyce says they're planning an unveiling in October.

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