Staff and pupils at Abbots Green Community Primary School are mourning the loss of their chair of governors Jackie Smith, who has died after a three-year battle with ovarian cancer.
Jackie, 48, who died at West Suffolk Hospital on December 5, had been a governor since the school opened in 2005 and became chair in 2010.
Jackie had also been a member of the Friends of Abbots Green committee, raising much needed funds for the school.
Her son, Owen was a pupil at the school and her husband, Garry, is one of the school’s football club’s coaches.
Throughout her illness Jackie continued to maintain close contact with the school’s head-teacher Heidi Franklin, to ensure she always knew the latest news from the school.
Jackie was extremely keen that the school celebrated the 10th anniversary this year and though she was too unwell to attend the event herself, she was proud to see photographs from the day and embraced the celebration.
Jackie was enthusiastic about the performing arts and music and always ensured that she attended the school’s performances.
Jackie had asked that the school’s adopted charity this year was Nicky’s Way which supports children and young people who have suffered bereavement. The school has raised more than £800.
As a legacy to the school, Jackie expressed her wish to buy a piano and ensure that a Music Achievement Award is presented each year.
Mrs Franklin said: “Jackie has been an integral part of Abbots Green in the truest sense. She understood the pressures that schools face on a daily basis and was a true believer in staff wellbeing despite her own illness.
“She challenged when she needed to and wholeheartedly believed in the ethos and culture at Abbots Green. Jackie loved the Project Approach to Learning that the school endorses with each term being seen as a new adventure, as every child across the school embarks on a new learning theme together.
“There is a gaping hole without her presence and we cannot begin to explain how much she will be missed. Whilst this is an extremely difficult time for our school, we extend our most heartfelt sympathies to Jackie’s family and friends at this sad time.”
Jackie, who was educated in Bury, was employed by Lloyds Bank for 20 years before embarking on a career with Suffolk County Council.
Her role as School Preference Advisor for Suffolk County Council perfectly complemented her role as a school governor at Abbots Green.
A service to celebrate Jackie’s life will be held at Christchurch, Moreton Hall on December 21 at 4.30pm. Donations will be for the Macmillan Unit, West Suffolk Hospital, where the school says Jackie received excellent care.