Bal­fron mourns ex-head teacher

Death of Jim Flem­ing

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Kaiya Mar­jorib­anks

Trib­utes have poured in for a pop­u­lar former head teacher of Bal­fron High School who died on Satur­day.

The school said this week it was “deeply sad­dened” to hear that Jim Flem­ing, rec­tor for around two decades from 1984, had passed away at Strath­car­ron Hospice.

Bal­fron Com­mu­nity Coun­cil de­scribed him as “a much loved man who will live for­ever in the hearts of his fam­ily, his many friends, his pupils and his col­leagues”.

Con­do­lences and trib­utes also soon flooded in on so­cial me­dia from former pupils, par­ents and staff for Mr Flem­ing, who had also pre­vi­ously been de­pute head teacher at McLaren High School in Cal­lan­der and who re­ceived an OBE for ser­vices to ed­u­ca­tion in 2000.

Many spoke of how he had been “in­spi­ra­tional”, re­mem­bered the name of ev­ery pupil and par­ent over many years and had earned re­spect from all quar­ters - even from those whom he had had to dis­c­pline.

Jamie Fox said: “A fine man who was well re­spected. I was in front of him too many times but it was never anger or disappointment he gave, it was ad­vice and en­cour­age­ment which showed the mark of the man.”

“I’ve never yet heard of an­other head­teacher who was as re­spected and ap­pre­ci­ated as Mr Flem­ing,” said Stephanie Sim.

Yvonne Bauwens mean­while, re­called his fun side: “One of my fond­est mem­o­ries was as a new first year. He came and asked what crisp flavour I was munch­ing at break, and then pro­ceeded to help him­self as they were his favourite too! Not too many teach­ers made time like he did to in­ter­act and be friendly around his pupils. Strict but car­ing. That took a cer­tain a kind of gen­tle­man.

“Years later, at a con­cert in the Fin­try sports hall, he came over. Call­ing each by name, he asked about our lives then, and how our sib­lings were do­ing. He re­called hi­lar­i­ous sto­ries about both broth­ers, and asked after our par­ents, who he also called by name. Who re­mem­bers de­tails like that about hun­dreds, if not thou­sands of kids who walked through those school doors? Jim Flem­ing did. A true leg­end who will be sorely missed.”

Roger Kelsey re­called just how pop­u­lar Mr Flem­ing was. “I re­mem­ber the first Speech Day we at­tended at Bal­fron High. Jim had been of­fered an­other job which he was con­sid­er­ing tak­ing, but when he an­nounced that he’d de­cided not to take up the of­fer and was go­ing to stay at Bal­fron High there was a huge roar and a stand­ing ova­tion. I won­dered what all the fuss was about but found out over the fol­low­ing years what an amaz­ing head teacher and rec­tor he was. Years later after he even­tu­ally moved on I con­tacted him for some rea­son and as soon as I gave him my name he re­mem­bered me as the fa­ther of my two daugh­ters and re­called their names with­out a sec­ond’s hes­i­ta­tion. An amaz­ing man and a huge loss.”

Jim Flem­ing’s fu­neral ser­vice will take place at St Columba’s Church of Scot­land, Stir­ling, on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 16, at 1pm, and then to Falkirk Cre­ma­to­rium. Those at­tend­ing can wear a ‘touch of tar­tan’ if they wish. Fam­ily flow­ers only, a re­ti­ral do­na­tion for Strath­car­ron Hospice will be taken.

Sadly missed Jim Flem­ing passed away in Strath­car­ron

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