Denise Thomson, a PE teacher at Bridge of Don Academy in Aberdeen, died of a brain tumour on August 7, at the age of 36.

Denise joined the PE department at a significant time in its history. Within a few months, through two retirements and one promotion, it had lost three staff with more than 80 years of joint experience in teaching and replaced them with three staff with less than eight years of experience between them.

She fitted in well to a youthful, rapidly developing and thoroughly committed department. Her early years in the school were a time of huge commitment to the development of Higher Still and Intermediate courses, in which she played her full part.

When she came into the department, the school's teams in football, basketball and netball had reached a level of excellence in local, regional and national competition. Denise took on responsibility for netball at all age groups and added to that the introduction of team golf.

Such was her success that the Bridge of Don Academy golf team became north-east district champions in three years out of four at the start of the new millennium. At the core of the team's success were the performances of two talented sisters - also, coincidentally, by the surname of Thomson - whose participation Denise encouraged and nurtured.

She not only did her job as a PE teacher to the very best of her ability, but also gave of her precious time to improve the lives of the school's young people through extra-curricular activities, residential courses and a whole range of special events.

Denise's organisational talents extended to staff social events. Under her leadership, the staff social committee succeeded in raising participation rates in the Christmas, end-of-term and leavers' events. She became a tremendous asset to the staff, ensuring that these events were high quality and being a real livewire at every one.

She was always smiling and positive, high-energy and busy making her own positive contribution to the life and work of the school. She was a true professional, always concerned to do her very best for pupils and colleagues alike. All were impressed by her caring nature. Those who were taught by her or who were her friends were lucky indeed.

Denise was always smiling, happy, bouncy, caring, loving and full of life. We can all learn from her, be inspired by her and try to be more like her. She leaves a husband, Craig, and two daughters, Keira, 6, and Eva, 4.

Jack Harland, headteacher, and, Bob McLymont, former headteacher, of Bridge of Don Academy.

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