Express & Star

Bittersweet moment as peace garden opens in memory of teacher who died of cancer

A garden of peace and reflection has opened in memory of a beloved Kingswinford teacher at the school she loved.

Wendy and Gordon Howells with head of school Mokshuda Begum, executive headteacher Shelley Reeves-Walters, PTA officers (from left) Hayley Tarbet, Alison Timmins and Sam Stockin, along with a few of the pupils

Pupils, staff and parents came together for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Far Forest Lea Memorial CE Primary Academy, dedicating the memorial to Adele Howells, who had taught at the school for 16 years.

The 44-year-old, from Kingswinford, died last November, just a few weeks after taking leave to start cancer treatment.

At the heart of the garden is a gazebo for whole class reading and learning, in recognition of her passion for teaching.

It is surrounded by plants – donated by Paul Cook of Stourport’s Cook’s Garden Centre – bird boxes and an insect box, creating a peaceful retreat for children to reflect, enjoy nature and read.

Donations for the memorial had poured into the PTA-organised Aviva Crowdfunder – smashing the £6,000 challenge target in just three weeks to top £8,000.

Adele Howells

Alison Timmins, PTA chairman at the time, said: “The response was overwhelming and showed just how respected and loved Adele was and how much she is missed.

“Saturday was a very emotional occasion, but to reflect her spirit, it was also an afternoon of fun for the children with bouncy castles and circus skills entertainer Anthony Arnold, who performed free of charge.”

As part of the ribbon-cutting, children were given forget-me-not seed balls and blew bubbles in tribute to Adele who gave bubble wands to her pupils at the end of each year, with the message: “You’ve blown us away this year."

Guests included Adele’s closest friends, past colleagues and her parents Wendy and Gordon, for whom the occasion was “bitter-sweet”.

Wendy, from Penn, Wolverhampton, added: “It’s a very emotional day and all that the PTA, teachers and parents have done is absolutely wonderful, very overwhelming.”

Mrs Timmins added thanks to Paul Cook, who also helped dig the new flower beds, Rob Matthews and family for digging out and laying the foundations, Rodda’s Dairy for donating cream and jam for afternoon scones and Worcester Timber Products for making and erecting the gazebo.

Mokshuda Begum, head of school, said: “It was a very special occasion with the whole school community coming together to celebrate Adele’s life and the enormous impact she had as a teacher here.

“She will live in our hearts for ever and now we have a lasting memorial, which will support our children to learn and thrive.