As Ger’s colleague and friend for the last 24 years, it breaks my heart to see Ger depart her earthly journey today. To say we are shocked and saddened to lose our valued colleague so suddenly is an understatement. Ger epitomised the belief that “A good teacher is like a candle; it consumes itself to light the way for others.” From the many tributes from past and present pupils since Her passing, we know that Ger shaped the character and future of so many students and created an environment allowing students to succeed. Her delivery of her subject material in both English and History was both gentle and powerful. She tailored Her delivery to be all inclusive and every student was treated as an individual. Every mind was important to Ger and she always searched for the right keys to open that mind.
Since joining our staff in 1996, Ger showed an unmatched level of kindness. She epitomised the richness of humanity. She had an innate quality of always being the first to help out and her acts of kindness were infinite. She was the first to offer to cover a class for a colleague if an emergency arose, to lend a hand, to go the extra mile, no task was too big for Ger to undertake. We often joked in the staffroom that while we would be contemplating doing something, our Ger had it done.
Ger was a brilliant communicator and her communication was always based on trust, respect, honesty and integrity. She had the gift of perception and could sense if a colleague or student were hurting and needed help. She invited confidences to be shared and gave the best advice on all personal and professional matters. She would often say “leave it with me” and would revert back with an effective solution. Ger was particularly welcoming to student teachers and new members of staff. She was both helpful in their induction and generous with her professional experience. Ger was decisive, had great courage of her convictions and would stand her ground. Our mantra in the staffroom was always to “Ask Ger”. Ger had a brilliant intellect and was knowledgeable on a myriad of subjects. Ask Ger about politics, history, current affairs, fashion, sport (especially about Paul’s beloved Leeds United) and she always had an informed opinion. I often suggested to Her that She would have made a great Barrister!
We will miss Ger’s sense of humour and her infectious laugh. This commenced early in the morning, in the locker corner of the staffroom and continued during our breaks and lunchtimes, as Ger regaled us with stories of her life experiences.
Ger was friendly and personable and made everyone feel welcome in her presence. She had a genuine interest in people, a retentive memory and Her power of recall was second to none. If Ger met you as a student or a colleague, she remembered you.
Yes, we are bereft without our Ger, but our hearts are breaking for her adored family, Paul, Ruth and David. They were Her pride and joy and Her loss to them is immeasurable. We know that Ger will mind and care for them from her heavenly home and that her everlasting spirit will guide them as they journey through life.
Until We Meet Again
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
May the rain fall softly on your fields
And until we meet again
May you keep safe
In the gentle loving arms of God
For everything there is a season
A time for meeting
A time to say goodbye
In all things
God is near
Always guiding your way.
We will miss you forever Ger.
Thank you for being our anchor and our rock.
Your friend and colleague,
Anne (Butler) xxxx