It is with the deepest sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Jayne Amos-Yeo. Jayne had been away from school since November due to ill health and, sadly, lost her battle in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
I do not need to tell you that Jayne was an indispensable part of life here at this school and in the wider community. For more than twenty years she has ensured that children have been able to safely cross the A39 at the beginning and end of the school day. Also, she has cleaned and cared for the school site and looked after the children at lunchtimes.
What you might not know is that Jayne gave so much more to the life of the school; she listened to readers, would help out with gardening and with the children, and would even take the left over runner beans at the end of the season to make her legendary runner bean chutney. For all of these reasons and many more too countless to mention, Jayne will be sorely missed.
What will leave a bigger hole in our lives is the person who we have lost and for whom we are grieving. Jayne spread light into all of the lives in this school community. Every morning she would greet every member of staff with a hot drink and a friendly word. She genuinely cared for this school, its staff, its children and the parents and would have done anything to help any of us at any time.
Jayne had an amazing sense of humour and would always bring a smile to any of our faces but she also had a deeply kind and sensitive side. She had an innate sense of when someone, child or adult, was having a difficult day and was always there with a kind word or suggestion.
Personally, as a new head teacher at the school, Jayne took me under her wing from day one and over the years we remained close. Through Jayne, I got to learn about the intricacies of the building, special knacks of how to mend things and much, much more. She was always there to pick me up after a hard day or to make me smile when things seemed challenging. These are my memories and the things that Jayne did for me. Every single person who is or has been a member of this school community over the many years that Jayne served it will have their own memories of this special lady.
My sympathies and condolences naturally turn to Jayne’s husband Pete, her children John, Rob and Vicky and her grandchildren and her mother Hilary. Also, I want to acknowledge that Jayne touched many, many people’s lives in this village and beyond and her colleagues and all of these other people will also be in pain and grieving at this time. The beautiful tributes of flowers that have been laid by the side of the road show how loved Jayne was.
The national lockdown has robbed us of an immediate chance to commemorate Jayne as a school community in person but we are making plans for a physical commemoration of Jayne in the school to remember her permanently. These plans are at an early stage and I will share them with you all in due course. If you have any ideas of how Jayne can have a permanent memorial, please share them with the school so we can consider the widest range of options.
I will, of course, speak to the children in school and via ClassDojo to give them the message in an age appropriate fashion. Some of you may have already mentioned Jayne’s death to the children and if any children have questions about grief, we as a school are happy to speak to children on an individual basis whether they are in school or at home.
I have been in contact with Jayne’s family and they have kindly invited a small delegation to attend her funeral that, due to coronavirus restrictions, obviously has to take place on a much smaller scale than anyone would have liked.
Jayne’s family are requesting family flowers only but are accepting donations to Bowel Cancer UK. Once more details are released by the funeral directors, I will provide more details.
I am so sorry to have brought this news but when I know the day of funeral, maybe you could all join me by lighting a candle that evening to remember the life of our friend and colleague, Jayne Amos-Yeo.