Memorial for hero is welcomed

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A COUNCIL chief has welcomed the idea of a permanent memorial in honour of the late Chesterfield school teacher and rugby player Cec Thompson.

Cec’s remarkable story saw him rise from humble beginnings at an orphanage to forge a successful career in Ruby League, which saw him represent Great Britain and later become head of economics at Chesterfield Grammar School.

Since he passed away last month the Derbyshire Times has been inundated with tributes to the “role model” who inspired hundreds of pupils and the under-privileged to succeed.

Chesterfield Borough Council leader John Burrows said: “Mr Thompson has obviously been a great inspiration to many in Chesterfield, and although I didn’t personally know him, his standing in the community should be honoured. “We would be happy to look at ways in which the borough council can help create an appropriate memorial in his name.”

Cec Thompson, who was 85 when he died, was placed in an orphanage, worked as a labourer and driver’s mate before setting up a window cleaning business and putting himself through university.

Former Chesterfield Grammar pupil Duncan Jackson, who is now vice-president of Sports Active Network, said: “Cecil set me on a path that truly changed me. “No other teacher had a presence like him. The busy school hallway would miraculously clear and kids would scatter. I was drawn to his class and the study of business and economics by his poise and raw passion.

“Twenty years on I’m in California reading the news of his passing having recently sold an internet company I co-founded and there is only one man to thank for setting me on my path - Cecil Thompson. I’ll never forget him.”

Others described Mr Thompson as a “role model”, their “biggest influence” and praised him for succeeding in difficult times against the odds and for showing what “anyone can achieve through hard work”.

l Would you like to see a memorial in Cec Thompson’s honour? Email comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk