Tributes as dedicated teacher loses cancer battle

John Drummond

John Drummond

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A dedicated Wearside teacher has died weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.

Oxclose Community Academy design technology teacher John Drummond was just 33.

John in his Sunderland rugby kit

John in his Sunderland rugby kit

Originally from Appleby, John moved to Sunderland for university.

It was there he met wife Amy. The couple had been together for ten years and married shortly before his death.

"It has been overwhelming, the amount of contact I have had from people who just want to tell me stories about him, all this stuff I didn't realise” said Amy.

John had been at Oxclose for around seven years and teaching was his passion.

"His mum was a head teacher and his dad was a furniture maker,” said Amy. “So when he went into technology teaching, he loved it.

"And he loved Oxclose. He loved his form class, and he particularly loved working with kids who had disabilities. He would come home and say ‘I’m knackered’ but he still used to stay late and organise things for the pupils to do.

"He was in charge of the school’s ‘Bright Sparks’ scheme for talented pupils. He took them to London, he did presentations with them.

"He always wanted to be creative - he never wanted the kids to be bored."

John was also a dedicated rugby player and a member of the Sunderland first team.

His team-mates will be at Sunderland Crematorium at 10.30am on Tuesday for a funeral service Amy is determined will be a celebration of John’s life, before moving on to the team’s club house.

"It is going to be sad, but I don’t want it to be morbid. We’re asking people to dress smartly but in bright colours,” she said.

Oxclose Community Academy head Tony Cunningham paid tribute to John as pupils collected their GCSE results yesterday.

“He was a fantastic member of staff, highly respected by everybody here, staff and pupils alike,” he said.

“It has been a huge shock to the school and we want to send our sincere condolences to Amy and to John’s family.

“We believe it will take some time for us to come to terms with such a huge loss.”

The school has written to the parents of John’s form class and counsellors will be on hand when school resumes next month.

“We will have arrangements in place to support the children when they return,” said Tony.

“The pupils return on Tuesday, staff will in school on the Monday for an inset day and we will come together to remember John.”

Tony and Amy have agreed that a new fund will be set up in the school in John’s memory, to help disabled and disadvantaged youngsters overcome their challenges.