Amble school celebrates life of former teacher with fundraiser for HospceCare North Northumberland

The life of a former Amble teacher who sadly died earlier this year has been celebrated at James Calvert Spence College (JCSC).

By Ian Smith
Monday, 21st June 2021, 10:40 am
A flamingo-themed fundraiser celebrated the life of former JCSC teacher Rachel Parks.
A flamingo-themed fundraiser celebrated the life of former JCSC teacher Rachel Parks.

The flamingo-themed fun day in aid of HospiceCare North Northumberland was organised in celebration of the contribution to the school of Rachel Parks, who taught at the school from September 1993 until August 2020.

Mrs Parks held several roles during her school career, including teaching business, health and social care, PHSE and food technology.

She particularly enjoyed the time she spent working as the pastoral support for Year 11 and Sixth Form.

Ian Parks, centre, with JCSC staff.

Mrs Parks sadly died peacefully at home on April 29, aged 51.

The Parks family were supported by HospiceCare North Northumberland and the staff and students at JCSC were keen to raise funds for the charity.

It was important to all that the humorous and vivacious character of Mrs Parks was also celebrated.

A ‘Flamingo Friday’ fundraising day was held, with the school community coming together to stand proud and raise money for the hospice.

Miss Armstrong in her flamingo costume.

Staff and students donated money on ‘pay as you feel’ basis for the pink ribbons they wore on the day, which were a nod to Mrs Parks’ favourite colour.

The day was filled with fun and laughter thanks to activities including a flamingo derby, fla-min-bingo, a quiz, and flamingo-themed arts, crafts and PE.

Staff entertained students in years 5-7 with an egg roulette competition during a special assembly attended by Mrs Parks’ husband, Ian.

JCSC catering staff baked and decorated hundreds of flamingo decorated cupcakes for staff and students to buy.

A cheque for over £1,300 is presented to HospiceCare North Northumberland.

At the end of the day, Mr Parks was presented with the gift of a flamingo willow tree and a matching tree will be planted on the school grounds. The blossom of the tree, botanical name Salix integra 'Hakuro-nishiki', mimics the appearance of the pink-tinted birds.

In total, £1,375.83 was raised for HospiceCare North Northumberland.

Janice Bailey, director of science and chief organiser of Flamingo Friday, said: “It has been a glorious day. It was fantastic to see the students smiling after what’s been a difficult year for everyone.

"There has been silliness but also creativity, lots of energy and it’s been a day that Rachel would have loved and would have made her laugh. I’d like to thank everyone for making today happen and showing what JCSC is all about – the level of generosity and care shown by our wonderful students was heart-warming.”

Flamingo-themed cakes.

Mr Parks said: “It was lovely to see the staff and students getting into the spirit of today. My wife dedicated her teaching career to JCSC and both of our children have attended the school. It's been a day she would have truly appreciated. I plan to find a special place for the tree in our garden, and it's nice to know the other tree will remain at JCSC to mark her time here.”

Mr Parks is completing a charity 10K run, organised by HospiceCare on September 5 around Druridge Bay Country Park and beach and would love anyone so inclined to join him in ‘Team Flamingo’. There is also a shorter junior run. To enter, visit

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