School shocked by teacher's death

A POPULAR teacher regarded as an “outstanding role model” for his students has died suddenly at the age of 58.Peter Watson, who taught at Manningtree High School for 20 years, was not only known as head of art but also a keen musician and table tennis aficionado.

A POPULAR teacher regarded as an “outstanding role model” for his students has died suddenly at the age of 58.

Peter Watson, who taught at Manningtree High School for 20 years, was not only known as head of art but also a keen musician and table tennis aficionado.

Since his death, caused by a brain haemorrhage last week at his home in Colchester Road, Lawford, hundreds of tributes have been paid on social networking websites while cards, letters and emails have also flooded into the school.

Headteacher Deborah Hollister said: “All of us, students and staff, at Manningtree were shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Peter Watson.

“He taught many, many children to appreciate and understand art and the practical skills to be artists themselves.”

She added that Mr Watson had also trained art teachers and had worked with Anglia Ruskin University for many years as part of their art teacher training programme.

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“Staff here are coping with the death of a colleague who made the staffroom a lively place and who was utterly committed to and involved in school life.

“He was an outstanding role model for the students and his colleagues. Staff are remembering a thoroughly 'good bloke;' kind, decent and hard working.”

Ms Hollister said that the school would consider some form of permanent memorial to Mr Watson.

She added: “We are aware of hundreds of tributes on social networking internet sites from past pupils - we have also received letters, cards and emails from parents, ex-colleagues and other schools. Everyone is saying the same sort of things about Peter.

“This support has helped us get through a difficult week and is much appreciated. We miss him very much indeed.”

The school will close at 1.30pm on Friday so that teachers, staff and pupils can pay their respect at Mr Watson's funeral, which will be held at St Mary's Church, Lawford, at 3pm.

Mr Watson leaves a widow, Heather, and two children, Rebecca, 30, and Josh, 26.