1st May 2009 at 01:00

Les Mitchell, who died recently at Kelso High, had been a teacher of maths for more than 30 years.

Les completed his BEd in 1977 and between 1986 and 1990 took a BA in mathematics. A Tynesider by birth, he spent the first 10 years of his teaching career in schools in that area.

He had a long-standing love of Scotland and, in 1991, he and his wife, Lorna, moved to the Isle of Lewis where he taught at the Nicolson Institute. He remained until 2005. After a short period in Forres Academy, he joined Kelso High in August 2006.

Les was a passionate mathematician. He was particularly keen to convince his pupils that maths was not only interesting but also enjoyable, one of his stock phrases being: "If you can remember a telephone number, you can do maths."

He taught maths at all stages in the secondary curriculum, and this session was particularly enjoying the challenge of his Advanced Higher class.

His contribution to the maths department, however, went beyond classroom teaching. He regularly ran after-school help sessions and organised numerous competitions. These included quizzes for Number Day and, as a way of cementing transition arrangements for primary pupils, the "P7 maths is fun" day.

Les was very committed to educating the whole child. Earlier in his career he worked as a part-time youth leader on Tyneside and, for four years, as assistant principal guidance teacher in the Nicolson Institute.

Despite being with us for only three years, he very quickly became a popular and valued member of our staff. He was a regular supporter of school events and activities and a member of a number of school working parties. He will be particularly remembered for his support of new members of staff.

The whole school was stunned by his sudden death and he will be greatly missed. Some of last year's sixth years came back to school to express their condolences. One said: "He got me Higher maths". Les would wish no greater tribute.

Charlie Robertson, headteacher, Kelso High.

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