Tributes paid to much-loved Derby PE teacher who was as an ‘absolute legend’
Steve Jones has passed away
08:56, 1 JAN 2019
A “jolly blue giant”, a “gentleman” and a “legend” is how former pupils have described a Derby PE teacher who died just before Christmas.
Hundreds of pupils and teachers from the former Homelands Grammar School, which later became Village Community School, have paid tribute to Steve Jones who taught there for 30 years.
Many have come forward to share their memories of the 68-year-old grandfather and how his influence has helped shape their lives.
Former pupil Kalwinder Singh Dhindsa, 39, said: “I will always remember him as a jolly blue giant, with a great big moustache as he would always wear the same blue jacket and tracksuit bottoms.
Steve’s son Andy Jones said: “He was a real character, a great role model, much loved by everybody and he made a difference to so many people’s lives.”
Another former pupil Yas Ellahi wrote: “Most of us will not remember many teachers names, but you mention Mr Jones and people will say Homelands school, he was the pillar of Homelands.”
A great guy who everybody loved
Mr Jones, of Mickleover, started teaching at the school in 1972 and was one of a handful of teachers who was still there when closed down back in 2002.
He went on to teach at West Park School, in Spondon, before retiring at the age of 57, around ten years ago.
Andy Jones, 35, paid tribute to his father and was delighted to see so many comments from his former pupils.
He said: “My dad was just a great guy who everybody loved.
“It is still very raw at the moment, but it has been so comforting to read the comments that have been flooding in across Facebook.
“It fills in the blanks as you don’t often see the impact he had on so many people’s lives.
“He will be missed by everyone in our family, it is such a sad time.”
A lovely, kind man
Mr Dhindsa was at the school from 1991 to 1996 and was inspired to become a teacher because of the influence Mr Jones had on him.
He said: “He was just a lovely, kind man who had such a great influence on me and so many students.
“You never wanted to be in trouble with Mr Jones. He always had that presence that if you misbehaved he would be tough. You never saw that side to him though.
“He was at the school for thirty years and was there right until the end in 2002.
“When you are a kid you have your sports heroes, like David Beckham, but as you get older you realise that the real heroes were back in the playground and in the classrooms.
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Mr Dhindsa said: “Did I have Mr Jones in particular in mind when I wrote it two weeks ago? Most probably. As well as all the other great heroes and heroines of mine from school.”
“We had some great teachers at the school when I was there and Mr Jones is one of those that you always remember.
“The school had its problems over the years, but we were one big family and it was people like Mr Jones who made it such a special place to be.”
He was always willing to help
Sam Robinson also contacted Derbyshire Live to share her memories of Mr Jones.
She said: “He was a teacher second and a friend first as he would do anything he could to help.
“I had a real phobia of school because of bullies and he used to take me there every morning.
“He was more like an uncle than a teacher and you could go to him with queries or problems and he was always willing to help.
“There are a lot of people who have been left shocked by this and my thoughts are with his family.”
Many former pupils of Mr Jones and colleagues have take to social media to express their sorrow of his loss.
Several have posted in a special Facebook group set up for those who went to the school over the years.
Adam Leather wrote: “He always had time for you no matter what was going on. I think he was the only teacher to truly understand us guys at Village. It was an honour to know this great man. He will be sadly missed.”
Lisa Mason wrote: “Pupils were his number one.
“He gained as much respect as he did then and now as he knew how to treat his pupils.
“To gain respect you need to show respect. He certainly did that. One of the life lessons I took away from him. He wasn’t one for numbers, we were children growing and achieving, not a roll number.”
Absolute hero of a teacher
Tasha Beswick said: “He was the best teacher I have ever known. He was always there for his pupils. He would treat you with respect and would always listen.
“He will be very much missed. I never respected a teacher like I respect him.”
Zafar Iqbal wrote: “He was my PE teacher and an absolute legend. He was a great teacher, may he rest in peace.
Tris A Hb, who attended homelands between 1981 to 1986, wrote: “Absolute hero of a teacher. Not just a teacher, but one hell of a gentleman who impacted on all who attended Homelands School.
Kelly Sahota wrote: “He had a great sense of humour. When I think of Homelands, I think of Mr Jones. RIP Jonesy.”
Manjit Bains said: “He was funny, down to earth and approachable. A teacher I will always remember.”