Tree planted in memory of Richmond School deputy head

From left, Hannah Clark, Jane Clark, Liz Merckx and Jenna Potter.

A Scots pine tree has been planted at Richmond School in memory of deputy head Dave Clark.

Planting the tree was the idea of Liz Merckx, special educational needs co-ordinator, with students and staff raising the money to purchase the tree through an optional dress day.

Headteacher Jenna Potter said: “This seemed exactly the right thing to do to honour Dave’s memory.

“He was a tall man but someone who was a gentle giant, full of compassion.

“He was also a great lover of nature and the countryside so we can’t wait to watch the tree grow and give us the feeling of security that we also felt when Dave was around.”

In recognition of the contribution that Mr Clark made to sport at Richmond School and in the community, the new 3G sports pitch at the school has been named the Dave Clark Arena.

The pitch opened in November and has already become a popular facility in school and across the community.

Tony Potter, head of community sport at Richmond School, said: “We always envisaged this fabulous facility being the hub for sport in the area and this is certainly the case.

“We are so grateful to the various organisations who contributed to the funding of the project, which included the Football Foundation, Richmond School Trustees, Sport England, Richmond Town Football Club and Richmondshire District Council.

“It is just what the area needed and I hope it will encourage people, of all ages, to be more active and do more sport. With Dave being such a keen sportsman, this is the most fitting tribute to him.”

Four students, Unity Shrimpton, Will Arnold, Oliver Stewart and Shakari Walters have raised £3,052 for the Great North Air Ambulance in memory of Mr Clark.

Will organised a walk, cycle and running challenge, Unity busked some of Mr Clark’s favourite songs for over 20 hours, Oliver raffled a hamper and Shakari raffled a Christmas cake that she baked and iced.

All of the students have shown great initiative, resilience and independence. They are a real credit to the school, themselves and their families.

Mrs Potter added: “We were all deeply saddened and genuinely challenged by the sudden loss of Dave and our students, staff and Dave’s family have drawn huge comfort from all the kind messages that have been received.

“We have also been so impressed with our students and my faith in the goodness of young people has been reinforced further by their response.  They have been thoughtful, creative and resilient, putting to one side their own sadness to think of others.  Without any doubt, they have exceeded the very high standards that we all expect of them.

“This is genuinely a time that, as a staff, we feel humbled to witness their actions. We are also immensely grateful to Nadine Stacey, and her colleagues at Applegreen plc, for their tremendous donation of the Lucas machine to the Great North Air Ambulance Service.”

The Scots Pine tree is positioned outside Mr Clark’s first office at Richmond School and will be enjoyed by staff and students for many generations to come.

Jane and Hannah Clark, Mr Clark’s wife and daughter, joined Mrs Potter and Miss Merckx to mark the planting of the tree.