Tributes paid to Thornhill pupil who brought joy to all

SAD LOSS Head teacher Jonny Mitchell pays tribute to Ahmed in his Reporter Series column this week.
SAD LOSS Head teacher Jonny Mitchell pays tribute to Ahmed in his Reporter Series column this week.

A Dewsbury school has paid tribute to the pupil who “made everybody smile”.

Thornhill Community Academy pupils and staff were stunned after learning 14-year-old Ahmed Wadee had died on the last day of the Easter break. Tributes have been to the well-loved pupil who made everybody smile.

Assistant principal Matthew Burton said the whole school community was still trying to come to terms with the loss. Nearly 1,000 balloons were released in his honour last Friday.

Ahmed’s family were too upset to talk to the Reporter this week. It is understood that Ahmed suddenly collapsed and was taken to hospital where he later died.

Local councillor and family friend Masood Ahmed paid his own tribute. “He was a lovely character. A joker,” he said. The school’s mourning was cruelly underlined as news filtered through of the classroom stabbing of Leeds teacher, Ann Maguire. “This was felt by us as another school-based tragedy,” said Mr Burton. “It was very difficult to deal with.”

He said Ahmed, of Thornhill Lees, whose older brother is also a pupil at the academy, had been ‘incredibly well thought-of’. “The circumstances of his death were tragic,” he said. “He passed away on the last day of the holidays. In line with Islamic tradition, his funeral took place within 24 hours. Representatives from the school were there to show our respects. It was the least we could do.”

Mr Burton said the past week had been ‘very difficult’ for the school. “This is a tightly-knit community and it has been very hard for every one of us,” he said. On the first day back, timetables were changed to allow students to remember Ahmed and ‘get themselves together’.

“The outpouring of emotion made us very proud,” said Mr Burton. “The way students spoke about him, there was a real sense of dignity, maturity and support for each other.”

Last Friday, every member of the school community was given a balloon bearing the academy’s colours to set free. “The attitude was impeccable and Ahmed’s family joined us for this tribute. We were humbled by the fact they came along as we wanted to show them our support. “It was a unifying moment when all else was put aside. Our students have been tested and have come through with flying colours.”

Mr Burton said Ahmed was a charming young with a strong future academically. “He had the ability to make people smile. He brought joy everywhere he went.”

Dewsbury South Labour councillor Masood Ahmed said. “I was shocked when I got the call on the day he died,” he said. “It seems one minute he was OK and the next he was in ICU. He was such a cheerful lad. You could not say a bad thing about him.”