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School remembers a fine teacher

PUBLISHED: 13:00 16 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:40 03 March 2010

WHILE most people in Ipswich will remember Jamie Cann as MP and council leader, the community around Handford Hall school recall a fine teacher who inspired his young pupils.

WHILE most people in Ipswich will remember Jamie Cann as MP and council leader, the community around Handford Hall school recall a fine teacher who inspired his young pupils.

Mr Cann spent almost 25 years at the school, both in its original buildings in Bramford Road and on its new site.

"He was a wonderful teacher," said his former colleague Ann Catchpole.

"He knew instinctively how to teach children.

"The children loved him, but he didn't take any nonsense from them. They knew where the boundaries were."

Her colleague Debbie Coleman agreed.

"The children knew him as strict but fair, they all respected him and enjoyed his lessons."

During Mr Cann's time at the school its reputation around the area improved greatly – and his role as deputy head was crucial to that.

And he retained his relationship with the school after entering parliament.

"He came back to our open days and judged the pet competition – it was interesting to see him asking children about the care of their pets, it was obvious he was a teacher to the core," said Mrs Catchpole.

Parent Delia Browne had special reason to remember Mr Cann.

"One of my sons is dyslexic and he took a great deal of trouble with him.

"He was a wonderful teacher – but he took no nonsense. It's terrible news," she said.

Former pupils Christine Baxenden and Julie Haggar now have children of their own at the school.

"He was strict, but fair," said Julie.

"You wouldn't mess him around, but he was a very good teacher and I learned a lot from him.

Both had been to see him about constituency matters over the last few years.

"When I went to see him I couldn't call him Jamie, I still saw him as my teacher," said Christine.

"But he was very good, both as a teacher and MP – I was very sorry to hear the news about his death."

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