Tributes paid to popular Saffron Walden teacher

PUBLISHED: 11:15 26 November 2010

Sue and Friends' pupils at the Great Westgarth Run

Sue and Friends' pupils at the Great Westgarth Run

Archant

AS a teacher she was an inspiration, as a person she was "truly amazing".

Sue got to fufil her dream of swimming with dolphins

These are just some of the tributes paid to a popular Saffron Walden teacher who lit up the lives of her pupils and those around her.

Sue Westgarth died peacefully on October 12 having battled with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Sue taught at the Friends’ Junior School from 2001 until she was diagnosed with the disease last year.

Head of the junior school Andrew Holmes said: “She was a very experienced teacher, having taught in a wide variety of schools, both here and abroad.

“She was knowledgeable in the ways of modern teaching but never lost sight of the more traditional view of the skills and values that young people needed. But more than this, she had inexhaustible patience and a wonderful understanding of children and young people and what made them tick and this was the key to her success.

“And of course, there was the running – at school she found a willing and enthusiastic body of young people who enjoyed running at whatever level. She coached some brilliant runners in her time at school and instilled a love and enthusiasm for running which spread across the school.”

A keen athlete who ran 15 marathons, Sue was affectionately known as ‘the running teacher’ after forming successful running clubs and inspiring children of all abilities.

Several charity events were held to raise funds for both Sue and the local branch of the MND Association including a cello recital concert, a parent-led fun run – the Great Westgarth Run, which raised over £15,000 – and a ladies lunch which brought in an impressive £1600. Sue used the money to fulfil her dream of swimming with dolphins in Florida.

A memorial service, held earlier this month, was packed to the rafters, speaking volumes about her “specialness”.

Sue’s sister, Chris Westgarth, said: “Sue was one truly amazing daughter, sister, friend and teacher – so brave, determined, generous and special.

“As a family we have been overwhelmed by the messages of support and comfort from past pupils, friends, colleagues and on Sue’s Facebook page.

“We hope, pray and know her memory will live on in our hearts.”

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