School in mourning for ‘larger than life’ teacher

TRIBUTES have poured in for a teacher who dedicated his life to hundreds of students who died after he was found collapsed in the bathroom of the school gym.

Dave Smith from Hall Mead School in Marlborough Gardens, Upminster died at the Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford from what is believed to be a heart attack on Wednesday October 20 at around 6.30pm.

Headteacher, Simon London said: “It is a real shock to everyone at the school because he was a very fit member of staff and a very popular teacher who really dedicated his whole life to the school and he will be sadly missed.”

The 60-year-old design and technology teacher was believed to be training in the school gym at around 4pm when he started to complain of feeling unwell and was later found on the floor in the bathroom.

A member of staff and a off duty police officer who were in the gym at the time tried to resuscitate him using CPR before ambulance crews arrived at around 4.15pm.

Mr London said: “It is a real life changing experience but the member of staff and the off duty police officer acted very quickly and professionally and tried the best they could to try to resuscitate him.”

Mr Smith, who had worked at the school for 23 years as the head of department for Design and Technology was also a member of the school’s Parents’ Association and was the governor at a primary school in the area.

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Last year he retired but returned earlier this year working part time.

Mr London said: “He loved teaching and loved working with the pupils and he really enjoyed the day to day basis of working with the youngsters and the other staff and that is why he returned to the school part time.

“He was a very popular teacher and he was a larger than life character who really enjoyed his existence and lived life to the full.”

A special assembly was held at the school in tribute to Mr Smith on Thursday October 21 and tributes have also been left at the school in a special box and a special page has been set up in memory of him on social networking site Facebook.

One tribute at the school read “Mr Smith was a great teacher who lit up the room as soon as he walked in”

Another student wrote Mr Smith was such a likeable and caring man and he will always be a member of the Hall Mead family.”

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