Jarrow school raises £2,000 in memory of much-loved staff member from South Shields who lost battle with breast cancer

A primary school has raised more than £2,000 to honour the memory of a much-loved member of staff who lost her battle with breast cancer.

Alison Thompson from South Shields was just 48 when she passed away on June 2, 2021, leaving behind her son Matthew, 18 and daughter Abbie, 13.

For 12 years she had been communications champion at Fellgate Primary School on Oxford Way in Jarrow. She also became a champion for the charity Breast Cancer Care.

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Following a magnificent effort, the school has so far raised £2,064.

Pupils at Fellgate Primary had a strawberry tea afternoon to honour Alison Thompson, with Fellgate and Hedworth councillor Jay Potts attending. Picture by Stu Norton.

Some of the money will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support, who have been praised for the care they gave to Alison during her last days.

But the rest will be used to create a permanent memorial to Alison at the school. The type of memorial is yet to be decided, but a garden of remembrance is one suggestion.

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The money was raised partly through a raffle. Barbour contributed a coat as a prize, HTG Technology in Hebburn gave an Amazon Echo, the Clarion Hotel in Boldon added Sunday lunches, while other local businesses chipped in with takeaways.

But the highlight was a strawberry tea at the school where cakes were sold. The event was given added poignancy when guests Carol and Jimmy Heppel, Alison’s parents, also attended.

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Much loved Fellgate Primary staff member Alison Thompson, who passed away in 2021 aged just 48.

Every half term the school gives a communication champion award to two pupils, in memory of Alison and for the work she did at Fellgate supporting children's speech, language and communication.

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The award goes to the two pupils who have made either outstanding progress with their own speech, language and communication, or to a child who has supported another pupil in making progress with their speech, language and communication.

Year 6 pupil Jayden, 11 and James, seven, of year 2 were given the awards for last half-term and were presented with their certificates at the tea.

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Pupils and staff had a wonderful time. Headteacher Julia Tones was delighted with how the special afternoon went and felt it was an appropriate way for the school to honour Alison’s memory.

Carol and Jimmy Heppel, parents of Alison Thompson, attended the event with head teacher Julia Tones, centre.
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Mrs Tones said: “It was a truly special Fellgate moment which we all treasure whilst remembering our dear colleague. She would have enjoyed every minute of it.”

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Jayden, 11, won the communication champion award in memory of Alison Thompson.