SONG, dance and the release of hundreds of balloons formed a touching tribute to a school’s founding headteacher who died.
More than 600 youngsters at Whiteley Primary School, in Gull Coppice, took part in the afternoon celebrating Pat Bradley who was the school’s first headteacher from when it opened in 1997.
Mrs Bradley retired last summer aged 56 to fight cancer but she died in February this year.
Watched by dozens of parents, friends and former pupils, the current pupils performed in memory of the much-loved teacher.
New head Lesley Pennington, who had worked alongside Mrs Bradley since 1998, said: ‘She was determined that the school would be a place where children could do their best and it would be fun and creative as well.
‘She always wanted the children to shine.
‘Everyone admired her determination and she was very private about what she was going through. People knew she was unwell but she just kept going – she wouldn’t let it affect her work.’
Balloons in her favourite colours were released as the Henry Cort concert band played True Colours.
Year six pupil Connor Bomford, 11, said: ‘I felt lost when Mrs Bradley died – she was so nice.’
Numerous references were made to her sense of fun and willingness to dress up as a pantomime horse and Humpty Dumpty, amongst others.
Connor added: ‘She was never afraid to join in with things and was always up for it.’
Classmate Jake Hallman, 11, said: ‘If it wasn’t for Mrs Bradley this school would only be half as good. She was very trusting of us but we followed the rules.
‘She didn’t want it to be a boring school.’
A collection was taken with all proceeds going to Cancer Research UK.