A new building has been opened at a London school in memory of a teacher from The Rosses.
John Boyle died on 1 January 2012, of lung cancer, at the age of 60.
He was son of Susie Boyle of Cloughglass, Burtonport and of the late John Boyle of Acres, Burtonport. His parents both returned to Donegal, to Cloughglass in the 1980s. John senior passed away in 2000; Susie continues to live there and play an active part in the community.
John was a frequent visitor to Cloughlass, spending many of his summers there and particularly enjoying the fishing.
He taught at Alperton Community School in Wembley. Last month, the John Boyle Inclusion Centre, which cost more than 500,000 to build, was opened there. Funded jointly by Brent Council and Alperton Community School, the centre will to enable up to 20 students with moderate learning difficulties to transfer to Alperton for their KS4 education.
As well as giving the students the opportunity to take GCSEs and other courses, the centre will help prepare students for an independent life in the community. They will have the opportunity to study in the Sixth Form at Alperton and be prepared for further education and work beyond this.
Head teacher, Maggie Rafee, said: “The John Boyle Centre is dedicated to the memory of our much loved and much missed colleague, John Boyle.
“John was a passionate champion of inclusion and in his outstanding teaching career here and elsewhere he stood up for the disadvantaged and the vulnerable.
“We hope that the students’ lives will be enriched by the opportunity to study at Alperton Community School. We know that our school community will be greatly enriched by having the students join us. It will afford all those in our school community the opportunity to develop empathy and understanding in a way which leads to greater equality for all.”
Seamus O’Donnell who was a a neighbour of John’s in The Rosses and a lifelong friend, was delighted to hear of the “signal honour”.
He said: “Although born and bred in London, at heart Johnny was a Donegal man, more particularly a Rosses man. He returned annually for a rejuvenation, to meet with all the neighbours and to enjoy the craic.
“To have a new building named after him, even though he was instrumental in having the building provided because of his commitment to inclusion, is a signal honour.”
Rozina Sabur, who herself has family roots in Downings, Derry and Clonmany, paid this tribute to John Boyle, whom she had met through their involvement with the Brent Youth Volunteers project, of which he was Chairperson.
“John supported many young people like myself in volunteering projects and recruited many, many more. He really understood young people and had a talent for getting things done. With his great sense of humour, interest in current affairs and sport and deep appreciation of literature, he was an inspiration to us all.
“John’s work with the volunteers was hugely rewarding for the local community. He really made a difference: organising and running environmental, mentoring, creative and performance projects. Amongst these were floats for the Diwali Parade in Wembley, with its resplendent display of bright costumes and music, and the New Year’s Day parade. For three years, BYV won top prizes in the London New Year’s Day Parade, securing over £20,000 with of prize money for charity. It was poignant that, on the day he died, we won a prize for Brent Mind, a cause very dear to John.
“John always celebrated his Irish heritage, and we had great craic preparing for Brent and London’s St Patrick’s Day parades. One of the last projects he was engaged with was running a competition for children, illustrating the story of the Salmon of Knowledge. Afterwards, bodhran players were trained and a giant Finn Mc Cool and salmon were created and made a spectacular contribution to the parade. John was passionate about inter-cultural community spirit, and his work in organising community events reflected the importance he placed on a cohesive community.
“As such an active member of society, John will be remembered for different things by different people. Many will remember his work with the young people he did so much for, others will know of his work with senior citizens. To his students he was a first-class mentor and he will be remembered as “a genuinely good man”. A colleague said: ‘The world has lost a big chunk of kindness’.
“His legacy lives on in Brent because he showed us how a meitheal’ works.”