TRIBUTES have poured in from around the community for a South Cerney primary school head teacher who passed away last weekend.
Stephen Richardson, who lived in Highworth, died on Saturday, January 25 after suffering a heart attack.
Mr Richardson had been in charge of Ann Edwards C of E Primary School on Berkley close since 2003.
Deputy head teacher of the school, Emily Chapman said: “He was a wonderful mentor, an inspirational head teacher and will be sorely missed around the school and local community.
A tribute from staff said he will be remembered for dressing up as characters for many school creative curriculum events, including Willy Wonka where he did cartwheels to make his appearance.
It also remembered his competitive streak and sense of humour, describing the time he lost in an egg and spoon race and then threw the winning teacher’s egg into the middle of the school field.
Many children at the school will fondly reminisce about how Mr Richardson shared stories about his dog Dylan.
They will also remember how he loved to joke with them, such as the time he allowed pupils to push him in a paddling pool at a school summer fund raising event.
Mr Richardson, who recently turned 52, leaves behind sons Will and Jake and wife Julia.
His family explained in a tribute that he loved Ann Edwards and was immensely proud of what he had achieved at the school.
Mr Richardson was known for his hard work forging links between the school and the community.
Canon David Bowers, vicar of All Hallows church in South Cerney and governor at the school, said: “Stephen Richardson will be missed by all of us at All Hallows Church, and by all in our parish, as a popular, caring and devoted head teacher who always supported links between the school and the church.
“We are all very saddened and shocked by his sudden death and I personally, as a governor of the school as well as vicar, will miss him greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and with the school community at this sad time.”
Mr Richardson was a keen sportsman and coach for Supermarine Rugby Club U15’s in Swindon and for the youth side of his home-town team, Highworth Town Football club.
He also regularly drove rugby players from Ann Edwards to and from their matches.
Parent, Darren Gadd, said: “He encouraged sports in and out of school and developed fun ways for the children to learn. The reaction in the village yesterday was one of shock and praise for a man who did so much for our children.
“He was a great head master and our kids loved him, he was always in the playground before and after school talking to children and parents by their first names.”
John Kimberly, whose daughter attends Ann Edwards, described Mr Richardson as a “fantastic teacher who was supportive and kind".