SCORES of families paid tribute to a former headteacher during an emotional event.
Dozens of balloons were released at Lynnfield Primary School in Hartlepool in tribute to former headteacher Joy Lowe.
Joy, who was headteacher at the school in Grosvenor Street for 20 years, died on October 17, just a week after she had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
More than 270 people crowded into Stranton All Saints Church to say farewell to Joy, who lived in the Park Road area of town with retired husband Terry, 62, on Tuesday last week before a private cremation.
The balloon release was organised by mum-of-three Gemma Brazell, 29, after school on Tuesday for parents and pupils, past and present, who were unable to attend the church service and wanted to pay their respects.
Full-time mum Gemma, who’s seven and three-year-old sons attend the school, said the event was a huge success.
Gemma, of Byron Street, Hartlepool, said: “It was amazing, I was over the moon at how many people turned up, it filled up half of the children’s play yard.
“About 150 balloons were released and the children had the chance to write a message to send up with their balloons.
“It had the effect that I wanted it to.”
Gemma said she first knew Joy when she started at the school in the reception class before going to secondary school, and again when she started working at the Lynnfield Centre seven-and-a-half years ago.
She said: “It was for parents and pupils who couldn’t be at the funeral.
“I just wanted to do something to allow the children and parents to celebrate her life.
“A memory book has been started and has been filled in by people in the school and it is full of memories about Joy.
“When it is full it is going to be presented to her family.”
Due to Joy’s commitment in helping youngsters, donations are being collected in her memory for the Barnardo’s children charity.
More than £1,000 has already been raised and to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/joylowe