You may well already have heard the sad news that our former Head of Maths, Ian Brannagan, died last Saturday morning following a brave battle with cancer. Having spoken to Lindsay, his wife, I have her permission to pay tribute to him on this blog, as circumstances mean that we cannot pay our respects as a school in the normal ways due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
Although Ian had left the school, he was still very much a part of the Freddies family, having taught here for many years. Lindsay tells me that he certainly regarded it as his spiritual home and we certainly regard him as one of our own. Not only did he have many friends on the staff, he was also important to the many hundreds of children he taught and to their parents.
Ian was, first and foremost, a fantastic Maths teacher, who loved classroom teaching. He made a massive difference to those he taught because he combined good teaching with real care for those he taught. It is impossible to measure the size of the impact he had on the young people in his classes over many years and he will be sadly missed. I think it is fair to say that he made Maths enjoyable for generations of children and many will have succeeded against the odds because of his teaching.
He had that same caring attitude in his work as Head of Maths and guided many young teachers through their first steps into successful careers. His enthusiasm for the role and his wise advice helped many to become excellent teachers, making his overall impact even bigger.
The staff at Freddies will also remember his cheerful presence in the staffroom, laughing and joking with colleagues. Certainly, when I think of Ian I always think of him with a smile on his face and I believe that that is how he will be remembered despite the trials of his recent illness.
It is incredibly sad that we as a school can’t gather to celebrate his life due to the situation with Covid-19. I can assure you, however, that at some point in the future there will be a collective recognition of his contribution to the school – we just cannot say when it will be or what form it will take. In the meantime, his wife Lindsay has already embarked upon a mission to raise funds for the Christie Hospital and plans to run a marathon in his name.
I know that Lindsay is finding comfort in the many messages of condolence she has received and we will pass on to her any that we receive from students and parents. I am sure that those whom he taught will have many happy memories that they can share. I am sure that the contributions via Facebook and Twitter will also be gratefully received.
Ian’s untimely death has added to the feeling that we are currently being taught a very clear lesson: Take care of one another and value the time that you share with your loved ones. In the end, nothing else matters.
Keep safe and well over what will be a very strange Easter break.