This week our school community was greatly saddened to hear the news of our beloved teaching assistant Mr Bethell’s sudden death on Sunday.
Mr B, as he was affectionately known, was very much the ‘heart and soul’ of the school community at King’s Hawford. He was always one of the first to volunteer to get involved in our school events (and for many years was our own school Santa, working alongside the real Father Christmas!) He showed a great interest in all of our children’s achievements and passions, and knew all our children well, even having affectionate nicknames for our boys and girls and sharing a joke and a laugh with them whenever he greeted them around school. He radiated positivity, warmth and happiness, and infused his kind-hearted spirit into everything he did at King’s Hawford.
He joined the school in 2004, quickly playing a big role in our games afternoons and sports programmes, while also taking on our football camps and offering football parties and birthday discos. His ‘Soccer with Santa’ camps were legendary and he even managed to get a number of elves from the North Pole to pay a very special visit for the children.
His passion for sports and enthusiasm for our children’s achievements stretched far beyond term time as he was often seen supporting children at the weekends, cheering them on as they played in their various football teams, and always making sure they had a special shout-out in the following week’s assembly.
He also bought musicality to our school. His after-school African Drumming sessions became our most popular activity and his appearances in our school productions (most recently as a rhino in ‘The Lion King’) and pantos will go down in King’s Hawford history. He had a stunning singing voice and his finale performances at our ‘Roy Orbison Day’ and ‘Sixties Day’ had everyone clapping and cheering along. These memories will be treasured amongst all our children, teachers and staff forever.
We’ve been paying tribute to Mr Bethell all week by remembering all of the special times we’ve had with him during our weekly assembly. This included footage of him performing in our various shows, as well as a tribute from headteacher, Jim Turner. We’ve also been sharing these memories on our social media channels and we’ve seen a huge number of heart-warming comments from previous pupils and teachers.
On Facebook, Fionna Caddick said: “Mr Bethell was so lovely and will be greatly missed. My children have great memories with him at Hawford.” And Louisa Levett said: “A lovely tribute to a very special person who was so much more to my girls than simply a teacher.” It’s clear that Mr Bethell truly touched the lives of so many of us and he will never be forgotten.
We are aiming to put together a memory book over the October half-term to give to Mr Bethell’s family as a memento of his time with us. We’re asking children to share handwritten messages, photos and drawings of their memories and time with him to be included. We will also be planting a special tree in the school grounds in his name.
The full assembly honouring and paying tribute to the wonderful and beloved Mr Bethell can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeXlDtCRcOM&feature=youtu.be