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NEWS > Alumnae News > Sun Rise Walk for Jill Grant

Sun Rise Walk for Jill Grant

We're so pleased to share this special appeal from Emily Dexter, Class of 2006, who is calling on the LEH community to help raise funds in memory of Jill Grant, the much-loved Junior School teacher.

Hello fellow Alumnae! I’ve decided to don my finest, sparkliest walking attire to raise as much as possible for the Shooting Star Children's Hospices in memory of my inspirational teacher Jill Grant by taking part in their 10K Sunrise Walk in Richmond on Sunday 25th June. For more information, click here.

When I learnt in 2019 that Jill had finally lost her battle with cancer I was totally lost for words, “distraught" doesn’t even come close. However, remembering her ability to always find a silver lining, even in the darkest of places, I immediately felt the need to do something charitable and positive that she would be proud of.

In the summer of 2018 she told me that, "her pupils were her children," and so it seemed fitting to raise funds in her memory for this sensational children's charity. Shooting Star House is located just around the corner from school and first opened its doors when I was a Sixth Former and Jill was still teaching.

The Richmond Sunrise Walk event seemed appropriate for so many reasons, not to mention Jill’s own warmth, sunny disposition, and love of the local area. I signed up ready to do it right away that summer back in 2019, but then due to my own sudden ill health (which has unfortunately continued to this day) followed the year after by the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the world, my plans were somewhat scuppered… until now! 

What a better way to celebrate the memory of such an extraordinary teacher who, during her 30 years teaching at LEH, inspired me and a multitude of girls to pursue their dreams, live life to the full and to always see the funny side of things, no matter what life throws at you!

Sparkly Striders’ team name is inspired by that unmistakable twinkle in Jill’s eye, which everyone knew so very well! She had impeccable dress sense and it’s no secret that she herself was partial to a little sparkle here and there. Furthermore, I think she would see the humour in the fact that a night owl like me was attempting a sunrise walk!

Our teachers really are some of the most important people to touch our lives. Whilst finding the words to write this, and with Jill in mind, I came across this quote for the first time and it resonated with me.

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings...warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” Carl Jung 

With Jill’s warmth she was able to not only teach us but nurture our souls and help us blossom into compassionate, sensitive, and determined young women.

Aged 8 in Upper I, I was lucky enough to have Jill as my form teacher and I and my family feel privileged to have known her for over 23 years (wow how time flies)! Her unfailingly positive attitude, kindness, charitable nature, wicked sense of humour, and unmistakable wit were character traits which I and so many others will treasure forever. 

There are so many memories of her exceptional teaching that there frankly isn’t enough space here to scratch the surface, however, you may remember some of these; her iconic bookworm stickers which grew across the wall as the term progressed to encourage you to read and have fun doing so, her library, which I and so many others spent many a happy hour and lunch break in with her.

Her enthusiasm for history, especially the Celts, Anglos Saxons and Boudicca was infectious and of course her passion for creative writing and encouraging her girls to use their imaginations. Her ink stamp collection was legendary and the excitement of opening your marked homework to see which brightly coloured ink stamp you had received is something I’m sure many of her pupils will never forget.

Her joy for singing too, whether it be hymns in assembly or carols at the Alumnae Carol Service, is something I have continued to carry into my adult life. LEH has a history of truly remarkable women and Jill was most certainly one.

I would be delighted it if anyone, alumnae, staff, present pupils or parents felt they would like to join me in this walk this summer in memory of a truly special teacher and friend. I have also chosen the shorter 10km distance for this reason. In order to join you simply need to add “Sparkly Striders” into the Team name section when you register.

I think she would be touched by the idea of her girls teaming up together to bring sparkles and fun to the world in her memory. Every penny we raise will help bring more joy, smiles and laughter to the lives of these special children and their families. Here’s hoping we can make her proud.

Now, with Jill in my heart, it’s time to get those walking shoes on!

Emily

Xx

For more information and to sign up here, please see the Shooting Star website: www.shootingstar.org.uk/event/sunrise-walk-richmond-2023/

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