Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tribute from Jackie Crook, Deputy Head, Stoke Mandeville Combined School

Tribute delivered by Jackie at a special school service in Graham's memory on 27th November, 2009

When I first met Graham I was impressed by how he conveyed his vision for the school. He mentioned the library, play ground, mini bus, entrance hall, nursery ... the list went on and I became excited at the prospect of working with him to achieve his ideal and was delighted to be appointed his deputy. I am grateful to have benefitted from his wisdom and knowledge.

He was calm – and kept me calm. When I was anxious about things he would ask – how tough is your skin? And then, is it any tougher yet Jackie?

Graham was an excellent head but, moreover, a real family man - he shared his obvious pride and love for Towe, Aila and Leiva with us all, talking about them often. He kept the sense of proportion real – work to live, not live to work.

He cared how we all felt and knew all our strengths, which he encouraged, alongside giving us all enough challenge to grow within our job.

I for one learnt so much in the short time we worked together and he gave me opportunities and the confidence to undertake challenges which made coming to work exciting. Friends asked what my new head was like – I always replied that he was a really nice man, a real gentleman and that is how I will remember him – a really nice man who it was a real privilege to know. I miss you Graham.

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