Remembering a popular teacher

Jacquie Aitken who died suddenly at the age of 52 after a short illness.
Jacquie Aitken who died suddenly at the age of 52 after a short illness.

WARM tributes have been paid to a popular Forfar primary school teacher who died suddenly last week after a short illness at the age of 52.

Jacquie Aitken was a much respected and valued member of the teaching staff at Whitehills Primary School where a whole school “Get Together” was held to encourage the children “to reflect on and remember their fond memories” of their teacher.

Jacquie’s husband, Steve, their daughter Jenny and son Neil have also taken great comfort in the steady stream of hand-made cards from pupils which beautifully capture Jacquie’s cheery disposition and caring nature, as well as her love of her “soft-top” car.

Speaking from the family home in Lochbank Gardens, Steve said they had been overwhelmed by the messages of support from the school, which had been a great source of comfort in their time of sorrow.

He referred to a letter which had been sent out to parents by headteacher Mrs Coureen Peters which described Jacquie as “a very kind, enthusiastic and supportive member of staff.”

The letter continued: “She always put the children at the heart of everything and will be fondly remembered by staff, children and the wider communities of Wellbrae and Whitehills.”

The family was also moved by a letter from Mr Neil Logue, director of education at Angus Council who said: “I know that Jacqueline (Jacquie) will be sorely missed by all who knew her. She was a much respected and valued member of the teaching staff at Whitehills Primary School.”

Born and brought up in Arbroath, where her father, Jack, was a draughtsman in Fraser’s engineering works and her mother, Eva, was a cashier in the office of William Lows, Jacquie (nee Ross) performed well at school and went to the University of St Andrews to study French, Fine Art, Medieval History and computer programming.

After completing her degree she spent a year in France as an Assistante in a French High School before returning to Arbroath.

She initially took a job in residential social work in a children’s home in Scone and it was at this time she met Steve in November 1982.

The couple married in June 1984 and honeymooned in Paris - the first of many great trips to France. They celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in 2009.

Starting out on married life, Steve and Jacquie initially lived in St Andrews before moving to Dundee. Jacquie returned to university - to the College of Education - to obtain her cherished teaching qualification and started work almost immediately at Wellbrae Primary in Forfar in 1989, where she made many friends.

The couple then set up home in Forfar, initially in William Street with Jacquie taking a career break when she had family.

The family moved to a house in Muir Place and after Neil started school Jacquie began a role supply teaching, moving to various school contracts at Tannadice, Aberlemno and Kirkriggs, to name but a few, before returning to Wellbrae Primary, ending up at the Pre-School (nursery) at the new Whitehills Primary School.

Jacquie’s funeral was held at Parkgrove Crematorium on Saturday.