Brackley united in grief for former head teacher

Gill and Marcus Coleman. Mr Coleman died after an acicdent in brackley Town centre on Friday, May 11.
Gill and Marcus Coleman. Mr Coleman died after an acicdent in brackley Town centre on Friday, May 11.

THE Advertiser has been inundated with tributes and anecdotes about a man who some have described as the best head teacher Brackley has ever seen.

79-year-old Marcus Coleman of Broad Lane, Evenley was tragically killed just yards from the Brackley War Memorial as he crossed the road with his wife Gill at around 8.15am last Friday, May 11.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

They were both involved in a collision with a Honda CBR motorcycle a few yards south of the pelican crossing opposite Boots.

Advertiser merchandiser Bernie Connolly was on his early morning rounds to Brackley newsagents when the accident happen. He said he turned after hearing the motorbike.

Mr Connolly said: “It was the most horrific thing I have ever seen.”

They were both taken the Horton Hospital in Banbury where Mr Coleman was declared dead and Mrs Coleman was treated for a fractured wrist.

Air Ambulance land in Brackley town centre after fatal accident - Friday, May 11.

Air Ambulance land in Brackley town centre after fatal accident - Friday, May 11.

The 19-year-old motorcyclist also received serious injuries and stunned onlookers watched as the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance landed in front of Magdalen College School. The onboard doctor was able to anaesthetise the motorcyclist and he was taken to the John Radlciffe Hospital in Oxford. Yesterday, Thursday, May 17, a spokesman for Northants police described his condition as serious but stable.

Mr Coleman had been a prominent member of the community having served as the deputy head teacher at Southfield School, and as headteacher of Brackley Junior School between 1985 and 1995. He was also an active member of the Rotary Club of Brackley.

Loretta Borham, current headteacher at BJS said: “Adults at BJS, together with parents, many of whom were pupils at BJS during that time, have very fond memories of Mr Coleman. He was an extremely dedicated head teacher who cared deeply about the children at his school. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

Blake Stimpson, worked with Mr Coleman in Oxford and when he became head at Southfield Mr Stimpson said Mr Coleman was his first choice as deputy.

Gill and Marcus Coleman. Mr Coleman died after an acicdent in brackley Town centre on Friday, May 11. (first couple form the left) Taken during a Rotary Club of Brackley trip to Amsterdam

Gill and Marcus Coleman. Mr Coleman died after an acicdent in brackley Town centre on Friday, May 11. (first couple form the left) Taken during a Rotary Club of Brackley trip to Amsterdam

Mr Stimpson added: “I have known Marc for 42 years, not only as a teacher and colleague, but also as a friend. He was an extremely talent musician and pianist, and instrumental in the establishment of the Brackley Music School. He was great fun to be with, and had a very good sense of humour. I am proud to have known Marc for so long.”

Tributes posted online or submitted via email:

Kelly Gilbert said: “I was at Southfields and I remember I shut my finger in a door when I was about seven and he gave me 50p for being brave.”

Diane Davis said: “I was at Southfields school 1974-1980 and remember him playing the piano every morning in assembly.”

David Connolly, president of the Rotary Club of Brackley, said: “Marc was a long standing and much valued member of the club. He led on many of our youth projects and his contribution will be sorely missed. His sudden loss has shocked us all and our thoughts are with his family.”

Sonia Bowmar-Scothern said: “My sister and I were both pupils under the headship of Mr Coleman at Brackley Junior School.

Mr Coleman was a very well respected and well-loved teacher who had a very positive influence on so many young people’s lives. He will have a special place in the hearts of so many who attended BJS and will be a greatly missed member of the community.”

Rebecca Adams said: “He was my headmaster at Brackley C of E Junior school and I can honestly say he was the nicest, most genuine man you could ever wish to meet. I have many fond memories of him from his vigorous yet wonderful piano playing in assemblies, to his words of wisdom when I made the transition to secondary school. I had the utmost respect for him as did all of his pupils, nothing more than he deserved. Every time I met him in the street he would ask how my family were and, rubbing his hands the way he did, would beam from ear to ear at the sound that my daughter is now a BJS student. His passing leaves a huge hole in this town that we will struggle to fill. I am so saddened by the tragic news and would like to send my condolences to his wonderful wife and family. RIP Mr Coleman - The Best Headmaster This Town Has Ever Had!

Paying tribute in the comment section of the Advertiser’s website LornaLehec said: “What a very sad day Friday was for the town, but most of all for family and friends of Mr and Mrs Coleman. I remember Mr Coleman being a very kind and understanding man as my headmaster at BJS school, with a kind heart and a big smile.

“Thank you Mr Coleman for making my school days happy ones, and I’m so very sorry for the loss of such a wonderful gentleman. “Thoughts and love to all of his family, and may you be proud to know how well thought of Mr Coleman was and still is, a true gentleman.”

Neilb73 said: “Mr Coleman, was a great man and fantastic head teacher. He would remember your name no matter how long it had been since he had seen you. I know he will be sadly missed by many many people. My deepest sympathy goes to his family at this time.”

JoanneKing said: “Mr Coleman, was a true gentleman and a fantastic head teacher. He was respected by all students and staff alike, and I know he will be missed by many people in and around Brackley. Deepest condolences go out to his wife and family.”