Town pays tribute to talents of highly regarded teacher

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The Independent Online

The grieving family of teacher Gwenne Mayor were last night struggling to come to terms with her death.

At their home in the nearby town of Bridge of Allan, husband Rodney Mayor was comforting the couple's two student daughters, Esther, 21, and 20- year-old Deborah.

The family were too upset to answer the door of their home and it is understood they were unable to meet a local minister who visited the house yesterday afternoon.

A woman who lives near the tight-knit family said local people could not believe what had happened. "They seemed a very nice family and were often seen coming and going. They looked very happy," she said.

"Everyone I know has been numbed at what has happened. You think it happens in places like America - not to someone just across the street who did not seem to have a care in the world."

Mrs Mayor, 44, enjoyed a successful teaching career spanning 25 years after qualifying at the Nottingham College of Education in 1971.

She taught at Bothkennar primary school in the Scottish Central region from 1971-72 before moving to the Bridge of Allan primary school in the town she made her home.

After a career break beginning in 1974 when her first daughter was born, she went back to teaching in August 1980, initially as a teacher of learning support and then as a nursery teacher at two primary schools in the region. She eventually took up her position at Dunblane primary school in October 1988.

The civic leader of the Central Region Council, Convenor Anne Wallace, paid tribute to Mrs Mayor. "She was an experienced and highly regarded teacher. She shared her musical and art skills as well as her enjoyment of sport with her pupils."

Stuart Denham, whose five-year-old son Scott was a pupil in Mrs Mayor's class said: "She was an excellent teacher.''

Mrs Mayor was a squash enthusiast and played regularly at the Bridge of Allan Sports Club. The manager said: ``She was a member here. We are deeply shocked at what has happened and our thoughts are with her family.''

The landlord of the nearby Westerton Arms pub, Patrick Peron, said the town was in a state of profound shock. ``She was a very cheery woman and always smiled when I saw her. She was highly thought of.''

A neighbour said: ``She was a very well liked lady. Everyone round here is in a terrible state of shock.''

The headteacher of the school, Ron Taylor, was praised by Central Police Chief Constable William Wilson as a ``tower of strength'' to pupils, staff and parents.

Shadow Scottish Secretary George Robertson paid tribute to the courage of Mr Taylor. ``He has been a hero in circumstances which other people would have found unbearable. You cannot speak highly enough of him.''