Wanstead High head and pupils pay tribute to teacher Steve Lovegrove who died on family holiday

The headteacher and pupils of Wanstead High School have paid tribute to a “wonderful teacher” who died while on a family holiday in the Maldives last week.

Steve Lovegrove, 51, a PE teacher and head of year, is believed to have died while swimming.

Chris Van Bussel, the head of the school in Redbridge Lane West, Wanstead, spoke of his “huge shock” on hearing the news on Tuesday evening.

He said: “Our thoughts go out to his wife Heather and his son James. It’s a great shock.

“He was a terrific teacher and it’s a huge loss to everybody at the school.

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“He was highly respected and loved by lots of people.”

Mr Lovegrove taught PE at the school since 1990 and was a head of year for 15 years.

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Mr Van Bussel said special assemblies would be held when the pupils return following the summer holiday.

He said: “We have already organised counselling for staff and we should have something in place for students as well.”

Hugh Muir, a school governor, said: “He was just a fantastic guy. Massively popular.

“The kind of teacher other teachers look up to, parents respect and pupils talk about long after they have gone.

“[It’s] very, very sad.”

Mr Van Bussel said the volume of messages left on Twitter in tribute to the teacher was a testament to his popularity.

Chloe Hennessey wrote: “Still in shock about Mr Lovegrove. I can’t believe it.”

And Rakish Bingham said: “So sad to hear my old PE teacher has passed away.

“Rest in sweet peace.”

Carrie Hards tweeted “RIP to the best head of year ever. Not only a teacher but a family friend” while Ruby Meehan said he was “one of the loveliest and most genuine men I’ve ever met.”

He has been described as a “popular and longstanding” player at Reed Cricket Club in Hertfordshire.

The club’s four sides will observe a minute’s silence on the pitches of their respective league games on Saturday and will wear black arm bands.

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