Moving and inspiring memorial for teacher

           From the             Dorking Advertiser       June 30, 2011     p6


By Sam Blackledge


HUNDREDS of friends, colleagues and students gathered to celebrate the life of a popular teacher.

Peter Thompson, former deputy head at The Ashcombe School in Dorking, died last month at the age of 58 after a battle with cancer.

A memorial service was held at St Paul's Church on Friday, 24 June, when people from all walks of' life paid tribute to a "lovely guy".

David Blow, head teacher at The Ashcombe, said: "The, service was very moving but also very inspiring, providing a fitting way of remembering Peter the person and all that he had achieved.




"Some of the phrases used by those present included 'fantastic memories of a thoroughly good bloke' and 'profoundly moving and inspiring'."

A selection of Mr Thompson's favourite pieces of music were played throughout the service.

The Ashcombe school choir sang The Beatles' classic With A Little Help From My Friends, and a version of Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond  was performed by the Reverend Nelson Porter and his band.

Teachers, governors, friends and students lined up to tell their own personal stories of how they knew Mr Thompson.

Chloe Keedy, former head girl at The Ashcombe, read a speech praising Mr Thompson’s work.

Speaking to the Advertiser after the service, she said: “There was nothing not to like about Peter.

“He was generous of spirit, you always got the feeling he was really rooting for you.

“He was an lovely guy, I don’t think anybody ever had a bad word to say about him.”

She added: "The memorial reflected that; it was absolutely brimming with tributes to him from various different people.

"He had so many interests and so many links with different things. It was a celebration of his life but emotions were running quite high."


Mr Thompson, who specialised in teaching Spanish, was instrumental in setting up an exchange project with Tambaza High School in Tanzania, which has been running twice a year for the last 15 years.

He introduced Mandarin Chinese to the school in the late 1990s and helped establish links between Surrey and  Shanghai.

Originally from Preston, Lancashire, he was a fan of Preston North End Football Club and a keen cyclist.

A Memorial Fund has been set up and donations in Mr Thompson’s memory will go to support the school’s Tanzania link and the BuildAfrica project to support a school in Uganda.