PORT Glasgow High pupils have paid a poignant tribute to a teacher whose life was claimed by cancer.

HelenPORT Glasgow High pupils have paid a poignant tribute to a teacher whose life was claimed by cancer.

Hundreds of young people at the school recently held a ‘race for life’ in memory of former principal guidance teacher Helen Lawrie, inset, who was brought up in Greenock and lived in Gourock.

A minute’s silence was held before the event to pay tribute to Helen, who had planned to take part in the race, but, sadly, passed away from cancer at the age of 62 before it took place.

Head teacher Alan Dick and principal PE teacher, Bryan Kelly, who both participated, said the run – in aid of Cancer Research – was a fitting tribute to Helen.

Mr Dick said: “This was a great event. Everyone took part enthusiastically and raised a lot of money for a very worthy cause.

“Helen spent her entire teaching career of 39 years at Port Glasgow High.

“She started as a biology teacher before becoming principal teacher of guidance, and was one of the stalwarts of the school. She had been treated for cancer a few years ago and made a full recovery.

“She seemed to be very well until her sudden death in April."

“Helen loved the outdoor life and was very much part of school sailing, hill walking and skiing events.

“She was also on the staff social committee, organising lunches and social occasions.

“She wanted to bring staff together, and also played the drums in the staff band and performed at school events. We all miss her very much.”

Helen’s brother, Robert, said the family was ‘very humbled and honoured’ that the school had paid tribute to Helen in this way.

He added: “It shows the esteem in which Helen was held among staff and pupils. Not many have taught at the same school for all those years, so it’s lovely to have this recognised.

“Helen was involved in many different activities at the school, including the gardening club and taking pupils on numerous trips, including to Denmark and Iceland.”

A total of £1,800 was collected for the charity by 300 pupils and 25 staff who completed two, four or six miles along the local bike track.

PE teacher Mr Kelly said: “The idea was to encourage pupils to train for the event and enhance their own fitness level, but the overall aim was to raise a lot of money for Cancer Research UK.

“Helen was looking forward to taking part, so it was fitting that many of the runners had her name on their running numbers.”

Mr Kelly praised the school’s sports leaders for efficiently organising the event.

He said: “It was also part of their Scottish Qualifications Leadership Award.

The impact they have had in the school and in the community has been outstanding.

“The award is about developing life skills, such as confidence, communication and respect.”

The school now hopes to hold another charity race day next year.

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