Touching tribute to Tadcaster student

Showing support for former student Matthew Gillespie is the Learning Support Team and students at Tadcaster Grammar School. Photo by Wendy Binns

Showing support for former student Matthew Gillespie is the Learning Support Team and students at Tadcaster Grammar School. Photo by Wendy Binns

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Students at Tadcaster Grammar School have paid a touching tribute to a classmate who died this year.

Matthew Gillespie, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of five, died of leukaemia in January, aged 14.

Matthew Gillespie was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of five (hence the reason for that chosen charity) but actually died of leukaemia in January, aged 14, which he was diagnosed with last September. (S)

Matthew Gillespie was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of five (hence the reason for that chosen charity) but actually died of leukaemia in January, aged 14, which he was diagnosed with last September. (S)

This month the whole school came together in his memory, raising more than £1,200 on a non uniform day.

A popular student, Matthew, from Scholes and in Year 10 when he died, was passionate about Castleford Tigers and attended many matches.

It was decided that staff and students would be asked to wear their favourite rugby/football or sport shirt and to donate £1 to four charities supported by Matthew’s family, who will be presented with a book of memories.

Tadcaster Grammar deputy head Cayte Mulhern said: “We believe Matthew would have loved this and especially with lots of students wearing his beloved Castleford Tigers shirts.

I think he would have been very touched to think that a lot of people were thinking about him and that he had lots and lots of friends here.

Matthew’s teaching assistant Amanda Jack

“Many of Matthew’s friends, his tutor group and Toulston House are also planning other fundraising events for the future to help us remember and celebrate all that Matthew, a very special young man, brought to our school community.”

The money raised from the non uniform day will be shared equally between Clic Sargent, Muscular Dystrophy UK, Candlelighters and Martin House Children’s Hospice.

Matthew’s teaching assistant Amanda Jack paid her own tribute to Matthew.

“Matthew was a lot of fun to be with. He was a practical joker, always telling jokes and often I was the recipient of those practical jokes.

“I miss him terribly and he is such a sad loss to our Tadcaster Grammar family.

“He was a really clever student too excelling in ICT and computer programming. I think he would have been very touched to think that a lot of people were thinking about him and that he had lots and lots of friends here.”

Hearing Matthew was ill, Castleford Tigers gave him a pair of signed rugby boots with a message of support.

His form tutor Elizabeth Stubbs said: “Matthew would have loved this. In the classroom he was happiest when giving friendly banter about his team and this would have given him the opportunity to rib us all.”