STAFF and pupils at Maralin Village Primary School were shocked and saddened at the sudden death of one of their teachers at the weekend, writes John Bingham.
P7 teacher 43 year old Philip Wallace died early on Saturday morning at his home in Dungannon.
“He had been off a week because of a heart attack but we all expected him back at school,” said school head, Mrs Gillian Napier.
“So it was with great sadness and an acute sense of loss that we learned at the weekend of the death of our esteemed colleague and much loved friend.”
Philip has been the P7 teacher for the past 16 years and throughout that time was an integral part of the school.
“His high standards of teaching, care for the children and friendship towards staff and parents alike have characterised his work. Philip was an enthusiastic sportsman and he enjoyed coaching the school football and cricket teams, leading them to victory on many occasions, “added Mrs Napier.
“Always a supportive and committed member of staff, Philip was never too busy to lend a helping hand, and I know that we have appreciated his kindness, helpfulness and great sense of fun. Philip and I have accompanied the P7s on their school trip every year for the past 16 years, and I along with all my staff feel a huge sense of loss. He was not only a colleague, but a good friend.”
The sad news was announced to pupils at Monday morning’s assembly.
“The P7s were upset and I met with them before the assembly to talk them through the grieving process,” said Mrs Napier. “Philip was a very practical person, he would have wanted the school to go on. The best tribute we could pay to him is to go on with business. That’s what he would have expected. It’s a sad day for the school.”
Philip was married to Anne, whose family came from the Feeny Road, Magheralin, and had two sons, Andrew and Matthew.
His funeral took place on Tuesday to Dungannon Presbyterian Church and in order to afford staff the opportunity to attend, the school closed for the day.
In lieu of flowers the school intend making a donation to missionary work, as his family has requested.