A SPORTS hall at the Sixth Form College has been re-named in honour of a beloved teacher who tragically lost her battle with cancer earlier this year.
At a small ceremony, staff, friends and family paid tribute to former PE teacher Claire ‘Chicks’ Hicks as the sports building was officially re-named the Claire Hicks Sports Hall.
A plaque was unveiled and guests enjoyed Pimms and strawberries in celebration of Claire’s life and her dedication to the college.
Claire, aged 51, had taught at the college since 1994 before losing her battle with cancer on January 26 this year – after defeating the disease just 10 years ago.
Reflecting on the ‘bittersweet’ day, Claire’s widower Paul Hawthorne said: “It was a humbling occasion to be there an witness her name unveiled on the side of the building.
“I’m not sure what Claire would make of it as she was unassuming and did what she did to help people not for the gratification of it, but it really is a wonderful legacy to have the building named after her.”
Paul said it was an emotional day surrounded by Claire’s colleagues, who had also commissioned a bench to be placed in one of her favourite spots inscribed with her motto – ‘here for a good time, if not a long time’.
He added: “I’m coming to realise what Claire meant to people.
“She had the magic touch where she could really connect with people – of all cultures, ages and sexes – and was so passionate about what she did.
“I am still coming to terms with her death, and it was an emotional day for me in what has been a tough six months.
“But it was humbling to see her name up on that building for future generations to see – it really is a wonderful legacy
“She is probably looking down and thinking ‘my goodness is this all for me?'”
Having given so many years dedicated service to the college and its students over the years, staff felt it was fitting to remember Claire in a permanent way by re-naming the building.
College Principal Paul Ashdown said: “Claire was a fantastic teacher and a warm and caring human being, as her many past students would attest to.
“Teaching was a vocation to Claire and it’s only right that her dedicated service is remembered.
“She will never be forgotten by her many friends and colleagues and having a permanent memorial to her at the College is a wonderful way to keep her memory alive.”
A recent event at David Lloyd gym in Monkspath, where Claire also taught fitness classes, raised £4,500 which will go towards training fitness instructors at the gym to work with people who are recovering from cancer treatment.