The Wokingham Paper

Holt pupils appeal for £10,000 to create mosaic tribute to teacher

James Furlong
A tribute at The Holt School left by pupils of history teacher James Furlong earlier this year. Picture: Phil Creighton

A PERMANENT tribute is being planned to a Wokingham school teacher who was killed in an alleged terror attack in June.

Students from The Holt School launched a crowdfunding campaign last week in a bid to raise £10,000 to create a mosaic for history teacher James Furlong.

He was one of three people who died in the incident which took place in Reading’s Forbury Gardens in June.

Last week, at a pre-trial hearing Khairi Saadallah submitted a guilty plea to the murder of 36-year-old Mr Furlong, as well as 49-year-old David Wails, and 39-year-old Joseph Ritchie-Bennett.

A hearing will now be held week commencing Monday, December 7, to establish whether Saadallah was motivated by a religious or ideological cause.

Mr Furlong joined The Holt in 2012, and was the head of history and government and politics.

In the wake of the attack, pupils left tributes, including flowers, pictures and heartfelt memorials, outside the school’s gates.

They also came together for a two-minute silence which was broadcast live on national television.

Now, they wish to create a permanent memorial.

Year 13 pupils, led by Katherine Fisher, launched the bid, initially asking for £3,000 – but this was exceeded within 24 hours of the appeal going live.

It was upped to £10,000 and, as we went to press, it had received £9,432 from more than 600 donors.

Ms Fisher said: “Mr Furlong touched the lives of all who knew him, and was truly an outstanding individual.

“As well as a dedicated teacher, head of history and government and politics, he was admired for his strong character, passion and conviction in his own beliefs.

“Mr Furlong encouraged Holt students to learn from the past in order to make better choices to shape the future.

“In order to enable his legacy to live on, we are creating a permanent mosaic memorial to remember him by.”

She added: “The impact on the Holt community was immense, but it is loss which teaches us the worth of things, and Mr Furlong’s worth is something we will never forget.

“We would like to inspire everyone to honour the memory of a man who was genuine, unique and fearlessly himself.”

At the moment, there are no final designs for the planned mosaic, but it is intended be a fitting tribute to Mr Furlong.

Any excess raised will be sent to charities close to Mr Furlong’s heart.

To make a donation to the appeal, log on to: gf.me/u/y79znh

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