Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Her Death Is a Huge Blow to a Small Community

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Her Death Is a Huge Blow to a Small Community

Article excerpt

Byline: By Amy Cartmell

Tributes poured in today to a popular teacher killed in a jet-ski accident abroad.

Gillian Neesham, 51, had taught at Prudhoe West First School in Northumberland for more than a decade and was well known in the local community.

The mother-of-three had been enjoying a holiday in Fiji with her husband, daughter Philippa, 16, and son Martin.

It is thought Mrs Neesham lost control of the jet-ski on the Korovuto River and crashed into mangroves.

She was taken to a local hospital but died at 8.15pm on Sunday.

Her husband Alistair, Philippa and Martin were flying home with her body yesterday.

They were to be reunited with their brother Timothy who had been living in Sydney during a gap year and returned to the family home in Leazes Park, Hexham, a few days after his parents left for Fiji.

Today Edith Pullen, a governor at Prudhoe West First School, who had known Gillian for about 30 years, said: "I first met Gillian when she came to the school where I was teaching in her probationary year. From the word go she was very caring and very committed to doing the best for the children in her care. She wanted to change the world.

"When she was newly-married they went off to live in Alberta, Canada for a few years I think just to try something different. She never turned down a challenge.

"They returned to England and she started working at Prudhoe where I am governor. She had become exactly the teacher I thought she would be. She still had the enthusiasm for working in the classroom she had when she first qualified. She had time for everybody even though she had a family and a demanding job. She never became cynical about the job. She will be sorely missed."

Mrs Neesham taught Year 1 pupils and she was also the school's PE co-ordinator. She was responsible for a host of extra-curricular activities, including netball and football. She even set up her own `batty rackets' club. …

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