‘Amazing response’ as fund for memorial to former Saddleworth School teacher tops target in week

A lasting memorial to a popular Saddleworth School teacher has been provided by generous former pupils.

POPULAR: John Atack

More than £2,000 was raised in a week after Kathy Wander (nee Dust) decided to start fund raising as a tribute to John Atack who died earlier month, aged 85.

The popular former science master joined Saddleworth School in September 1965 and left in August 1994, during which time he was also head of Upper School.

A solid oak hand made bench, complete with commemorative plaque and carved with appropriate symbols, is being commissioned to mark his life and career.

With the original crowdfunding target quickly topped organiser Kathy hopes there will be a sufficient surplus to also provide a piece of scientific equipment for the school.

But Kathy, formerly of Dobcross but now living in Hampshire, admitted to the Independent: “It’s strange how your perceptions change.

“I never envisaged at 16 that over 30 years later I would be raising money for one of my old teachers.

“To be honest most pupils were scared of Mr Atack. If you knew he was coming and you’d done something you shouldn’t then you’d just leg it.

“But at the same time you had so much respect for him and he was such a massive inspiration.

“So, when I decided to start the crowd funding everyone was on board straight away.”

The funeral of Mr Atack from Holmfirth took place at Huddersfield Crematorium on March 21.

A wreath was sent on behalf of the 3,000 strong Saddleworth School Friends’ Facebook group.

Kathy, who left school in 1984, hopes the bench, being manufactured by former pupil, Simon Hodgson, can be presented to the School at a memorial service during the summer term.

“The response has been amazing and I never expected to take off like it has,” she told the Independent.

“Because of the response I thought it would be good if we could also provide a piece of scientific equipment that perhaps a state school couldn’t afford to buy.

“The crowdfunding will run into mid April so there is scope for the final total to rise still further.”

Other former pupils have posted their own memories of Mr Atack.

Jenny Barrett wrote: “Happy memories of HSB with Mr Atack in ROSLA he was a brilliant teacher who made you want to learn. Any other girls in the Class of 85 will also remember him shouting “How many pairs of socks are you wearing? ”

Rest in peace Sir we will remember you always.”

Tracy Quarmby posted: “RIP Mr Atack you were a gentleman and inspiration good night god bless xx

Helen Attwater said: ”RIP Mr atack, gone but never forgotten, forever remembered special man and great teacher xxx”

To contribute to the fundraising, go online. 


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