Tributes to special Denny High teacher

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Heartfelt tributes have been paid to a hugely popular Denny High teacher who died earlier this month after a short battle with cancer.

A special tribute was held at the school in memory of Robert Patterson, following on from the funeral service which took place at Dunblane Cathedral on May 7.

There Mr Patterson (61), a religious education teacher at the school since 1982, was described as “a teacher’s teacher” and as “a unique human being”.

He is survived by his wife, Christine – originally his boss when he first started at Denny High – and his son Adam (24) and daughter Sarah (21).

The school’s rector, Stephen Miller, spoke feelingly of the man who on the one hand was happy to dress up as characters including Yoda or even Madonna for fun occasions, and who on the other was “the embodiment of integrity” whose value was recognised by professional bodies, colleagues, parents and pupils alike.

Mr Miller said: “Tributes have come from former pupils as far apart as Holland and Hong Kong, two of whom became teachers simply because Robert Patterson was their teacher.”

He said one of many sadnesses was that at the very time when the school was holding assemblies to reflect on his passing it should have been holding the S6 graduation ceremony at which Mr Patterson would have received the pupils’ award for “the teacher who regularly goes the extra mile”.

Mr Miller added: “Being a fellow RE teacher, there was a natural affinity between us, but I had an immediate and abiding respect for his intelligence and calm perspective, allied to his tremendous knowledge of all things Denny.

“One of our young male teachers said to me this week that if someone had asked him where, in an ideal world, he would like to be in a few years’ time, he would have pointed to Robert.”

His zany and infectious sense of humour was legendary – his distinctive but stylish wardrobe included flamboyant ‘Hawaii Five-O’ shirts – and life was never dull when he was around.

Mr Miller said: “We will continue to smile at all the daft things he did, all the funny and bizarre things he said, and for all the personal foibles that he never sought to hide but that simply added to the attractiveness of the unique human being whose company we willsorely miss.

“His legacy as a teacher will continue to serve as a role model of all that is best and of lasting value in our profession.”