Former pupils of a popular teacher who died of cancer have raised £29,000 for the hospice he spent his last days in.
David Allen Ramsden was assistant headteacher at Wellingborough School, where he taught history and politics as well as being the school’s rugby coach for 22 years.
Mr Ramsden died of cancer and spent 29 days at Cransley Hospice in Kettering. After his death it was decided to try and raise £1,000 for every day he spent receiving care at the hospice.
His youngest son Thomas said: “Describing a hospice as a magical place will seem foreign to some people.
“I’m embarrassed to confess that before this experience, I did not even know what a hospice was. But I will cherish the last memories I have of my father because of this hospice.
“The nurses and staff at Cransley are heroes who never claim credit for the selfless acts they carry out every day. They should be honoured.”
The high affection pupils past and present held Mr Ramsden in soon became evident with a Just Giving site raising £12,000 before a single fundraising event had taken place.
A year of fundraising, including a memorial rugby match, two former pupils cycling 290km in 24 hours and a London to Paris cycle ride that raised more than £5,000, saw the £29,000 target achieved with a day to spare.
William Chudley, who now plays rugby for Premiership team Exeter Chiefs, and was taught by Mr Ramsden, said: “His life was like his lessons, you never wanted the bell to ring.
“And how can I conjure up words that will ever begin to do him justice. I can’t tell you all the things he taught me. The way he got me to look at the world. The ideas and visions he shared. Things I still use every day. In my mind I can still hear him shouting, encouraging, believing. And I always will.
“I’m very lucky to have achieved what I have in my life. And I’m only too aware that much of that fortune is owed to the belief that he instilled in my heart. But for me, ultimately, what he leaves behind is pride and happiness.
“I can’t think of a moment I didn’t feel either of those when around him. His parting shot was one of sublime courage. The last few months of his life were incredible to behold. I spend my working life surrounded by men reputed to be some of the most courageous in sport. But none of them have a patch on Mr Ramsden.”
Current and former pupils, colleagues, parents, family and friends overflowed All Saints’ Church in Wellingborough for the funeral service and his coffin was carried by former pupils.