Gwen Mayor

10th March 2006 at 00:00
Gwen Mayor had been a teacher at Dunblane Primary for 10 years when she was killed trying to shield her P1 class from Thomas Hamilton's bullets. Her bravery and her commitment to teaching led her union, the EIS, to launch a fund in her name, ensuring a lasting legacy to her memory that benefits children in Scotland's primary schools.

Following her death, many Scottish teachers made donations to the fund, which in February 1997 became the Gwen Mayor Trust. Since then, organisations, trades unions and many individuals have continued to contribute. It is now administered by a board of trustees, which includes one of Mrs Mayor's two daughters and a former colleague from Dunblane Primary.

Each year, the trust awards monies to primary school projects connected with subject areas Mrs Mayor loved: the arts, culture, music and sport.

Last year it gave nearly pound;5,000 to 10 primary schools.

One was Eastfield Primary in Penicuik, which was awarded funding in 2004-06 to brighten up its "dull" dining room. P4 pupils worked with a local artist, Kate Leiper, to create 12 stained glass windows themed around healthy eating.

"The Scottish Parliament may look good but by the time we are finished, Eastfield Primary will look even better," said headteacher Elizabeth Barton at the time.

This academic year, St Aloysius Primary in Springburn, Glasgow, received funding for a project aimed at helping refugees and asylum seekers assimilate into the community. The school, which has a high number of pupils from outside Scotland, organises its choir to encourage inclusion of all its children. One way has been to buy African bells and shakers, and a djembe drum for children to play to accompany the singers.

"With the Gwen Mayor Trust we are able to continue our work in celebrating in song the many languages and cultures we now have in school," says Carol Jamnejad, an EAL teacher at St Aloysius Primary.

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