Paul Summers absolutely loved teaching and working with young people and he especially loved teaching at Newquay Tretherras. He joined our school in 1988 and became an absolute part of the fabric of Tretherras life, until he took early retirement in 2010 to dedicate his time to serving his other passion: the wider Newquay community.
As a teacher of PSHE, English and Drama, Paul had a great sense of social responsibility and he was a big fan of motivational lessons, posters and experiences to encourage all our students to be the best they could be, whatever their talents or starting points. His favourite music track to accompany his Careers’ assemblies was ‘Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow’ by Fleetwood Mac and Paul played it so religiously, year after year, that staff who have been working at Tretherras for a long while can’t ever hear this song being played to this day without thinking of Paul. His other assembly regular was ‘Sunscreen’ by Baz Luhrmann and the lyric ‘be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone’ always brought a smile to the faces of the staff in the hall watching Paul pretend there was nothing wrong with his own!
Paul had a great sense of fun and of schoolboy good-humoured naughtiness. He will be remembered by staff and students for lots and lots of things: his quick wit and ability to be subversive whilst absolutely appearing to be playing by the rules; his humorous use of irony which completely went over the heads of many students; his absolute dedication to sport even though his knees often creaked; his enthusiasm and competitive streak during staff-student football matches on Friday afternoons; his hilarious commentary during our annual Sports’ Days; his natural ability to be the ‘strict teacher’ at exactly the same time as being the ‘fun teacher’; and the ease with which he volunteered to take a group of students to play golf on the Newquay course during Activities’ Week. A dedicated Fulham FC fan, Paul loved all sports and it was a pleasure to see him discover something new in gig rowing and racing, alongside some of our staff and students, who he encouraged to try something new alongside him. Paul used sport as way to engage and connect with sometimes hard-to-reach children and he believed in the power of sport to bring people together. It is a fitting testament that he died doing something he loved so much.
Above all this, however, Paul was well known to be dedicated to his family and they were his true love and absolute priority. We send them our heartfelt sympathy at this very sad time. There are many members of the Tretherras community, past and present, who feel a great sadness at the passing of Paul Summers and this is due to the lives he has touched in so many different ways during his many years of public service to education and the community in Newquay: a town he cared for, loved dearly and passionately wanted to promote in a positive light.