Valued member of staff remembered

JPCT 16-03-12 Itchingfield Primary School Cheque presentation.  The school raised money for Great Ormond Street Hospital in memory of their caretaker, Heather Harding. Her husband Ron Harding accepts �400 for a bench in memory of Heather and former pupil Imogen Gearing accepts �1,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Head teacher Simon Simmons on right.  -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 16-03-12 Itchingfield Primary School Cheque presentation. The school raised money for Great Ormond Street Hospital in memory of their caretaker, Heather Harding. Her husband Ron Harding accepts �400 for a bench in memory of Heather and former pupil Imogen Gearing accepts �1,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Head teacher Simon Simmons on right. -photo by Steve Cobb

PRIMARY school children have raised £1,400 in memory of a member of staff.

In December last year, Itchingfield Primary School received the sad news of the unexpected death of Heather Harding.

Heather had worked for 20 years as a midday meals supervisor at the school, and had been a caretaker at the Barns Green site for seven years.

She played an active role in the school’s life, taking children around the village for history walks, and helping to supervise infant school trips.

She was also a keen supporter of Great Ormond Street Hospital, so the school decided to celebrate her time at the school by raising money for the charity.

Fundraising activities included guess the head teacher’s middle name, treasure hunts, mufty day, cake raffle and cake sales.

They raised £1,000 for the hospital and £400 for a commemorative ‘friendship bench’ for the school playground.

Heather’s husband Ron Harding came to the school to accept the cheque for the bench.

Imogen Gearing, an ex-pupil of the school and former patient at Great Ormond Street, received the cheque on behalf of the hospital’s cardiac unit.

Imogen, who was born with a heart condition called tetralogy of Fallot, has first-hand knowledge of the care Great Ormond Street can provide.

She has had two sets of open heart surgery: a day-long operation when she was a baby, and another two years ago when surgeons installed donated parts.

A statement from the school said: “Heather was an important member of our school family and our pupils really valued the care and attention she gave to them.

“For a small school to be able to hand over a donation as large as this is a great way of showing how important Heather was.”