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By Katrina Folger

Correspondent

AYER — To teachers and students at Page Hilltop School, Lenny Valentin was affectionately known as Lenny the Lion because of his love for lions and animals of all kinds.

“He had such an endearing smile,” Page Hilltop Principal Robert Ackerman fondly remembers.

Tragically, Lenny Valentin, 8, was killed in a car accident April 23 and left a family and school community mourning.

Shannon McNulty, a paraprofessional at the school who attended Lenny’s funeral, said she was unprepared and devastated to have to say goodbye to a boy that young.

“Lenny was a delight to work with,” she said. “He always helped other kids and was a genuinely sweet boy.”

Lenny’s teacher, Tammy Nadeau, said she had a close relationship with him and is equally as distraught by this tragedy.

“Lenny had a smile that made others smile,” she said. “When the class talked about Lenny, the first thing that came to mind was Lenny the Lion. He loved lions. We would always tell him that lions are brave and strong, just like him.”

During this difficult time, Ackerman and the Ayer community are pulling together to aid the Valentin family, which includes his parents, three sisters and two brothers. The school has set up the Lenny Valentin Memorial Fund through the North Middlesex Savings Bank to help the family with funeral-related expenses.

To date, $550 has been donated. Donations can be deposited directly into the fund at the bank or can be given to the office at Page Hilltop School, 115 Washington St.

“We are a community that cares about each other and that supports each other in times of need,” said Ackerman. “I am proud of how our community has pulled together after such a senseless tragedy.”

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