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farewell to a dedicated headteacher

PUBLISHED: 15:47 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:54 23 August 2010

HUNDREDS attended a memorial service to pay their final respects to a former headteacher who died after a five- year battle with a terminal illness. Simon Harrison MBE, 55, former headteacher of Ifield Special School, Cedar Avenue, Gravesend died last mo

HUNDREDS attended a memorial service to pay their final respects to a former headteacher who died after a five- year battle with a terminal illness.

Simon Harrison MBE, 55, former headteacher of Ifield Special School, Cedar Avenue, Gravesend died last month at his home in Tenterden.

A memorial service was held at St Georges Church, Church Street, Gravesend, last Thursday, where amongst tributes to the well respected headteacher, a trust fund was launched that will help pay for projects at Ifield School.

His son Luke Harrison, 26, said: "The service was a fantastic tribute to my dad, and was attended by about 300 people who knew him.

"It was hard for us, as we had already said goodbye to him at his funeral, but it was an opportunity for the people that didn't get a chance to go to say their farewells.

"The Simon Harrison Trust Fund will keep his memory alive and we wanted to use his name to continue certain projects at the school, for things they don't receive government money for.

"I hope to organise a car rally from London to Marrakech next autumn, with sponsorship for those taking part going to the trust."

Peter Read, chairman of governors at Ifield school paid tribute to Mr Harrison at the service, as well as current teacher Terry Coleman. There was also a performance from the Ifield Recorder group at the event.

Mr Harrison retired as head teacher of Ifield school five years ago, after he was diagnosed with a progressive neurological condition called Multiple Systems Atrophy, which effects one in 100,000 people.

During his time at the school he developed the SMILE centre, a support centre for children with special needs in mainstream schools that is now being introduced across Kent.

He was awarded with an MBE for his services to special education in 2004 and leaves his wife Paula, and two children, Luke and Anna, both 23.

ed.riley@archant.co.uk

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