Hundreds of Upminster students line streets for sad farewell to teacher

STUDENTS bid an emotional final farewell at the funeral of a well loved teacher who died after working out in the school’s gym.

About 600 pupils from Hall Mead School in Marlborough Gardens, Upminster formed a guard of honour along Ingrebourne Gardens and Marlborough Gardens as the hearse carrying Dave Smith was brought through the streets on Friday November 5.

Deputy Headteacher, Jim Brooks said: “It was a very emotional day but we prepared them all for it and they saw it all as a celebration of his success as a teacher and they wanted to do it to say thank you to him.”

The day’s event also saw pupils from Mr Smith’s form class lining the entrance of St Andrew’s Church before joining his relatives and former students for a church service which included a performance from the school’s choir.

The students were also able to pay tribute to him afterwards when a celebration of his life was held at the school.

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Mr Brooks said: “What really came out in all the tributes was his sense of humour and fun in the lessons.

“He went into teaching because he really loved it and he really did gave his all to the pupils.”

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The school was closed for the afternoon in tribute to the design and technology teacher who died after suffering a suspected heart attack on Wednesday October 20.

The 60-year-old who had taught at the school for more than 20 years, retired as the head of technology last year before returning earlier this year part time.

A special facebook page was set up in memory of Mr Smith and more than 800 tributes were also collected at the school in tribute to him.

Mr Brooks said: “We asked for students who wanted to take part in Mr Smith’s funeral but we were just amazed at the number that came forward.

“He will never be forgotten by anyone at the school because he was really well liked and he did his best in the classroom and his exam results were just proof of that.”

Mr Smith’s wife, Janet Smith said: “I would just like to say thank you to everyone who helped and supported us at the funeral.

“The tributes from the school were wonderful and they really helped to make the day special.”

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