Monday, 11 January 2016 (3074436)
Tributes pour in after death of teacher, 42
by Ollie Cowan
NEARLY £3,000 has been raised in memory of a much loved Greenbank High School teacher and mum of three who passed away last week.
Jemma Cottier, formerly Jemma Barnes, who was a popular figure at the Hastings Road School where she taught students English, sadly passed away on January 8 after suffering a stroke at the start of the Christmas holidays.
A charity appeal to raise funds for the Walton Centre was set up in her memory and thousands of people have already pledged their support - with £2,950 having already been donated.
Tributes have poured in from across the resort, with family, friends and ex students describing 42-year-old Jemma as a huge influence on their lives.
Speaking following the announcement, Jemma's stepdaughter Becca Cottier posted a moving tribute to social networking site Facebook which has since been shared hundreds of times.
She said: “I cannot describe the void that entered mine and my family's lives. It is a loss that will be shared by all of those who loved Jemma.
”Jemma was loved. And how wonderful it is to have been loved, by so many in so many different ways. I assured Jemma of this on a visit, and yet I needn't have.
“I can see how loved she was- and still is- through the support and kind words that we as a family have been met with, from all corners of the globe.
”I write publicly to reach out to those who I haven't met, and may not meet. Jemma knew she was loved.
“I cannot thank Jemma for the happiness that she has blessed my life with.
”I have gained three brothers, who are truly a credit to their wonderful mum.
“Nothing on this Earth would stop me from looking out for those little boys, and I look forward to seeing them grow with pride. They are her amazing legacies. I also cannot thank Jemma enough for how happy she has made my Dad. I was so privileged to be a bridesmaid at their wedding, and it continues to be one of the happiest days of my life.
”So thank you Jemma. Thank you for your support, your love, your infectious smile. Thank you for blessing our lives with your light.
“Thank you for inspiring me with your incredible mind and wisdom.”
A statement on the JustGiving site set up in Jemma's memory also reads: “It is important to remember Jemma as the kind, thoughtful and caring person that she was, and to not dwell on that fact that she will be leaving us very soon.
”Jemma received amazing care at the Walton Centre in Liverpool, and, as a family, we would like to return their kindness by raising money for the amazing work that they do.“
Greenbak Head Teacher Ian Raikes told our reporter: ”She was always at the heart and soul of every staff and pupil event and was a true leader.
“She was Assistant Head of English and led literacy at Greenbank ensuring World Book Day was the highlight of everyone’s calendar with staff and pupils dressing up as characters from novels and often provoking strange looks in the community when travelling to and from school!
”She also trained pupil Literacy Leaders with girls delivering sessions in primary schools with ‘Literacy boxes’ and paired reading to those who find reading and writing more challenging than others.
“Jemma had a very competitive spirit and encouraged internal literacy competitions through for example spelling bees and externally through supporting pupils in public speaking and only last year Greenbank succeeded in winning the Rotary Public Speaking Competition.
”Jemma was extremely passionate about pupils reading and last year introduced Accelerated Reader to Greenbank which was instrumental in developing so many pupils reading ages.
“I feel extremely privileged to have known Jemma as a friend and colleague and as a school we are devastated by our loss but her spirit will never leave us and lives on in everything we do.”
To donate in Jemma's memory, visit www.justgiving.com/JemmaCottier.