Ipswich: Tributes paid to popular ex-geography teacher

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Ipswich School geography teacher.

Gordon Paton, 71, from Stowmarket, died on December 20 after losing his battle with motor neurone disease.

Mr Paton, who taught at the school for 28 years, also served as the mayor of Stowmarket on three occasions. He was also a blue badge guide around Bury St Edmunds and was vice chairman of Mid Suffolk District Council.

In 2009 Mr Paton was diagnosed with motor neurone disease but despite his loss of speech and the ongoing debilitating effect of the illness, he fought hard not to let it hold him back.

Earlier this year Mr Paton, ably-assisted by the 30-strong “Team Paton”, completed an incredible 192-mile coast-to-coast trek from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire.

His wife Eve walked every step of the way with him and described it as a “fantastic” achievement.

The walk was in support of the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) and Mrs Paton revealed that the day before he died the �10,000 fundraising target had been reached.

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She said: “The motor neurone disease just tightened it’s grip relentlessly but he still walked to the very last day. He was always enthusiastic about everything he did.

“He retired at 60 but then his life became very busy. We would like to thank people for all their kind words and thoughts.”

She said his passion for the outdoors was a legacy that he had passed on to his children and grandchildren.

Current Stowmarket Mayor Poppy Robinson said Mr Paton had been a great mentor to her when she entered local government and described him as a good friend and a great orator.

Mr Paton served on Stowmarket Town Council for more than three decades, being mayor on three occasions.

He also held the post of vice chairman of Mid Suffolk District Council and for ten years was a blue badge guide for the Association of Registered Tourist Guides in Bury St Edmunds.

Mr Paton leaves his wife, four children and four grandchildren. A funeral service will take place at Needham Market Church at 1pm on January 6.

n Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Paton? Write to Your Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk