The life of a popular deputy head teacher was celebrated at the opening of a ‘quiet garden’ in her memory on Thursday July 9.
Janet King, who was instrumental in setting up Kingslea Primary School in 2006, died in June 2014 aged 49 after a battle with cancer.
Her parents officially opened the new garden at the school in Kings Road, Horsham, while some of her family flew from Scotland to attend the ceremony.
Her father Norman King said: “She was a keen gardener, and a ruthless one at times. She was also a very committed teacher.
“What she always wanted to do was to open young minds and eyes to experiences that otherwise might not have appeared for them.
“Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this project.”
He also said teaching was ‘in her blood’ as several members of the family have been teachers.
In the year since her death, staff and pupils have raised almost £20,000 for the garden, including entering teams in the Race for Life and Midnight Walk.
Head teacher Nigel Goodall, who is retiring this month, has worked with Janet since 1998.
He said: “There isn’t a day goes by we don’t think about Miss King - I want to tell her something that is so funny or I need some advice on something.
“I know that is going to continue long after I have gone. Without her Kingslea would not be the school it is today.
“She really did make a difference.”
He also praised the school’s community spirit.
He said: “It has been a difficult two years for the Kingslea community.
“We have always had a strong team here but the last two years have made it an even stronger team - we are very strong together and incredibly cohesive.
“I would like to extend my thanks to everyone for helping me through that period.”
The garden contains some of Janet’s favourite plants and one orange flower - because she famously hated the colour. It seats up to 48 children.
At the centre is the ‘tree of life’ sculpture, which pupils helped sculptor Tim Stankus to design. Each branch contains something relating to her, with a Scottish flag flying at the top.
Teacher Deb Kemp helped bring the project to fruition, Aquatecture designed the garden, and Hillier Garden Centre donated plants.
Janet, who lived in Horsham, started teaching at Rudgwick Primary School in 1987, moved to Chesworth Junior School in 1997, and helped to set up Kingslea on the site of Chesworth in 2006.
She was head of maths and ran booster classes to support some of the children.
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