'Passionate, sometimes unconventional': Tributes paid to much-loved teacher

much-loved hornchurch teacher obituary

Much-loved teacher Dave McClean recently passed away after a period of ill health. Dave was the head of humanities at Hornchurch's Abbs Cross Academy and Arts College for 34 years. - Credit: Rebecca McClean

A much-loved teacher from Hornchurch has passed away at the age of 73.

Dave McClean both lived and worked in the area, having spent 34 years as head of humanities at the Abbs Cross Academy and Arts College.

His daughter Rebecca spoke of a man who lived a "fun-filled, vibrant life".

Born in 1947 in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland, Dave attended Belfast's Queen's University where he was an activist in the fight against anti-Catholic discrimination.

An advocate of peace, he risked his life by challenging IRA members who were jeopardising those efforts in Northern Ireland.


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Dave's early 20s saw him move to Havering to begin his teaching career at the Royal Liberty School in Gidea Park.

That was followed by the stint at Abbs Cross, with Dave dedicating more than three decades of his life to the Hornchurch school.

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During this time he coached football and took children on educational cruises around the Mediterranean. 

Described by Rebecca as a "passionate and sometimes unconventional" teacher, a love of performing and dress up meant he "never took himself too seriously".

Outside of the classroom, Dave was an avid church-goer who led Sunday schools and summer camps.

The father-of-two also had a real affection for football and tennis, playing until he was injured in his 50s.

According to Rebecca, her dad remained vibrant until his health "took a steep decline" in the last three years.

Dave passed away from natural causes in the early hours of Saturday, July 10.

Rebecca said his final days were "spent peacefully at home with his daughters and visits from close family and friends".

Dave is survived by daughters Rebecca, 32, and Jessica, 28.

The funeral will take place at the South Essex Crematorium on July 28 at 2pm, followed by a wake at The Huntsman and Hounds in Upminster.

Dave made it clear he would welcome donations to the Salvation Army rather than flowers, and Rebecca has set up a fundraising page to honour that wish.

To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/davemcclean

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