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In agony, with an ocean of sadness, I announce the unexpected death of Charlie Hesselink. He was 8 years old.

He is deeply loved by so many people and most of all by his mother.

Charlie was adventurous, energetic, playful, full of joy, and had a wonderful sense of humour. A kind, thoughtful, and tenacious boy, he was curious, sweet, and bold. He was brilliant at making connections and often made observations with depth beyond his years.

Charlie was an outdoor kid through and through. He was often muddy, playing in the dirt, pretending to be a cat, making forts in the bushes, collecting worms, and admiring all kinds of creatures. His pockets revealed special rocks, sticks, little bones, and even a crayfish claw or two.

This year Charlie was given the Environmental Award at school, a reflection of his love and care for nature.

Charlie would build with whatever he could get his hands on. Whether it was with nature materials, Transformers, Lego, Minecraft, or drawing, he was often busy creating. It was clear, even from the age of three, that Charlie had the mind of an engineer.

Charlie had a significant impact on his peers. At Ottawa Crescent School and The Guelph Outdoor School, many children loved him and have described Charlie as a best friend, very kind, protective, and encouraging. An unassuming leader, his caring and empathetic attitude was on display when he helped other students resolve conflicts in positive ways.

It is impossible to sum up Charlie's existence with a few paragraphs. He shone the most brightly and it was a delight to be in his presence.

Charlie is survived by his mother, Kate Osburn; by grandparents Carol Osburn, Phil Osburn, Jane Hesselink, and Peter Hesselink; by cousins Oliver, Asher, Dorothy, Sahara, Izik, Blaze, and Nigel; by Aunty Emily, Uncle Brad and Aunt Laura H., Uncle Jeff and Aunty Eliza, Aunty Laura O., Uncle Rob and Aunty Nat; by close friends Isabella, Mahit, and many, many more; and by his beloved cat, Midgy. Charlie's father, Curtis Hesselink, died shortly after Charlie.

A memorial service will be held at Gilbert MacIntyre Hart Chapel, 1099 Gordon St. Guelph on Sunday, June 26th. There will be a time to view special items from Charlie's life at 1:00 pm with a service following at 2:00pm. Following the service, there will be a reception featuring some of Charlie's favourite snacks.

Donations can be made to The Guelph Outdoor School in Charlie's memory. Donations can be made by cash or cheque at the funeral home or online at https://www.villagehearthinitiative.ca/donate