14th January 2011 at 00:00

Fraser Kiernan, a science and biology teacher, died after a short illness from gastric cancer just before Christmas, on December 10. He was 38 years old and is survived by his wife Katy and sons Dougie, seven, and Euan, four.

Fraser's death was untimely and his teaching career resultantly short. However, his contribution and commitment to his profession was unquestionable to those who knew him. He was unarguably a natural teacher who taught because it was intrinsic to his character. He was a driven and determined educator who truly believed he could make a difference to children's education - delivered in the classroom in a kind, patient manner and with characteristically dry wit.

Fraser had shown an interest in science and natural history from an early age, and delighted his family when he gained the opportunity to study zoology at Glasgow University. While there, he developed an interest in geology and palaeontology, completing his honours research project on sauropod dinosaur eggs found in China.

During this time (1991-1995), Fraser met his wife Katy, who was studying for a degree in psychology, also at Glasgow University.

After graduating, Fraser relocated south of the border to Hull where he completed his teacher training at Hull University. He moved to Leeds in 1998 where he began his teaching career at Mount St Mary's Catholic High School, teaching science.

Fraser often spoke with fondness of his time in Leeds, gaining invaluable classroom experience and forming many lasting friendships with his fellow teachers.

In 2006, Fraser and his family returned home to his beloved Scotland and to a position at Preston Lodge High in East Lothian, teaching biology. It was here that Fraser became fully engaged with the school's outdoor education activities, participating in school excursions and outdoor pursuits with staff and pupils.

Fraser was a keen canoeist and kayaker and loved being outdoors. He instigated the school's involvement with the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme, inexhaustibly promoting and co-ordinating outdoor learning activities for students. Fraser was responsible for devising and leading the schools' forthcoming field trip to South America in May. He invested a lot of time and energy in the many fundraising efforts necessary to make the trip possible; from car-boot sales to running a half-marathon.

He was looking forward to the trip, in particular to the ascent of the Quilotoa volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. At his request, a portion of Fraser's ashes are to be taken by pupils and staff to Ecuador and scattered on the mountainside.

Fraser encouraged and supported his pupils' extra-curricular activities as enthusiastically as he did their academic achievements, proving himself to be a truly "comprehensive" teacher. His short illness and sudden death was a shock to all; he will be sadly missed by those who knew him and utterly irreplaceable to those who loved him.

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