We all I am sure have memories of particular teachers who have touched our lives and made a lasting impact.
In the case of Charlie Crow, that positive influence spanned generations.
The news of Charlie’s passing last week was met with great sadness throughout the city – but with wonderful warmth from those who remember not only an excellent teacher but a fantastic role model.
Charlie was honoured in 2017 by Aberdeen City Council for 50 years service to education in the city and only retired this year from supply teaching. In that notable career he was a popular teacher at Powis Academy and, for 30 years, Harlaw Academy.
The wave of tributes were front page news last week and have poured in from all over the city and across the world.
David Innes, Head Teacher at Harlaw Academy, knew Charlie well and I know he and his staff have been deeply affected by the loss – but uplifted by the lovely memories that have been shared.
David passed on the following note, which paints a picture of the response:
On hearing the news the school posted a tweet saying “All at Harlaw Academy wish to express our deepest condolences to his family. It will be a devastating loss, Charlie was a genuine and selfless character who enriched the lives of thousands of people in our community”.
Within minutes someone came back to say “He taught my dad at Powis, then my brother and myself at Harlaw. His passion was unrivalled and his classes were entertaining and interesting”. These sentiments will be echoed in many parts of Aberdeen by people who will have a real connection to Charlie.
He had a genuine interest in people and a deep desire to help others. Pupils and parents knew they could go to him, be listened to and get support. He was held in very high regard both as a subject teacher and as a guidance teacher.
He ran discos both in the school and for good causes in the local community and he got involved in other aspects of life beyond the classroom all to provide youngsters with enjoyment and opportunities they may not otherwise have had.
A colleague who worked with him said “Charlie always put people at the centre of what he did. Pupils knew he was doing things for them. He thrived in seeing the potential in young people and was excited about this future for them”.
He had an optimistic outlook on life and was optimistic for the people he worked with. There will be many people who will feel they would not have got to where they are today had it not been for the confidence Charlie had shown in them and the support he was prepared to give to them.
We feel a very deep sense of loss but hope his family draw comfort from knowing the very real difference he made to so many people and the positive impact he has had in the community.
Those lovely words from David and those that have come from family, friends, former pupils and everyone who encountered Charlie go some way to expressing the legacy of a lifetime devoted to helping pupils fulfil their potential.
On behalf of Aberdeen City Council, my condolences go to Charlie’s family and to the many people who have been touched by the terribly sad news.