HE has been described as a legend who made school fun.
Warm tributes were paid today to Gerry Oldfield, a teacher from Portsmouth, who touched the lives of thousands of people with his unmistakable charm, wit and dedication.
The 66-year-old, of Elm Grove, Southsea, died suddenly on Thursday from a suspected heart attack.
Gerry was a teacher at Mayfield School in North End for almost 40 years, first joining the school as a PE teacher and later in life teaching religious education.
He moved to Portsmouth from Nottinghamshire and spent his early career at the former St Luke’s School in Southsea, now the Charter Academy.
Taylor Rogers, 20, of London Road, North End, attended Mayfield and had very fond memories.
He said: ‘He made everyone feel part of the Mayfield family.
‘People have come to pay tribute to him from all over the world.
‘It’s quite a shock – I don’t think anyone really expected it.
‘The thing about Gerry was he taught thousands of pupils but he always remembered you.
‘He had a great memory for names.’
Pupils have fond memories of the games of cricket he would organise during the summer.
Gerry was a Conservative Party member and fought in several city council elections in the last few years, including Eastney and Craneswater, Charles Dickens and Fratton.
Former Mayfield pupil David Fuller, a Lib Dem councillor for Fratton, said: ‘Portsmouth has lost a legend among teachers.’
Dozens of tributes have been left on Facebook.
Chris Desmond wrote: ‘He was one of the only teachers that if you said “can we go on a school trip?” you’d be going on one the next lesson.’
Another tribute read: ‘Possibly the best teacher in the world.’