Christine Smith Eulogy21st February 2018
We are very sad to share the news of the death of Christine Smith, who was an integral part of The John Roan community for a number of years. Chris was a great supporter and advocate for the school; both her children attended TJR, she was the Manager of the BEST Centre on the Westcombe Park site, as well as being Chair of the Governing body.
Chris led a team of staff working with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged students and their families, aiming to improve their life chances by supporting them in achieving at school. Students could often be found in the BEST Centre being calmed down or encouraged to try harder but always treated with kindness and compassion. They were often given breakfast or lunch if money was tight at home and if they needed consolation, hot chocolate and toast. It was a mother’s trick but seldom failed to work! Chris ensured that students' lives were enriched by organising regular theatre trips and other activities and leading an annual week-long Braithwaite trip. The BES team of T.As, Home-School Liaison Workers, Learning Mentors and other professionals were intensely loyal to Chris and respected her immensely, particularly her uncanny ability to calm things s down just by walking into a room.
Many ex-students and former colleagues will remember Chris with fondness and her ‘special students’ and their families will think of her with deep gratitude. She was unashamedly ‘Old School’, where a student's well-being always came first and she had compassion and a passion for children and their learning. She will be greatly missed by all those who had the good fortune to work with her and we send our sincere condolences to her husband, children and foster son for their loss.
Des Malone and Claire Flynn