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Service held at Yavneh College in memory of founding headteacher Dr Dena Coleman
Hundreds gathered to pay tribute to “one of the truly great Jewish educators of our time”, who brought “success and blessings” wherever she went.
Founding headteacher of Yavneh College in Borehamwood Dr Dena Coleman died in July after contracting meningitis.
On Sunday, 450 pupils, teachers and, friends and members of the community gathered at the college to remember the life of a woman former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks hailed as a “truly great” headteacher.
Current Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis led tributes and a video of recollections from pupils was played to the audience.
The Yavneh College Singers performed pieces including the school song, which was a favourite of Dr Coleman.
A tribute was also read out from Education Secretary Michael Gove, who praised her services to education and lamented her untimely death.
MP for Hertsmere James Clappison, who was at the service, said: “This was a fitting tribute to outstanding educator who made a difference to the lives of many young people.”
Mayor of Hertsmere Councillor Paul Morris, who was also present, said he had not had the honour of meeting Dr Coleman but he was very moved by the “glowing terms” used to describe her.
He added: “It was very touching to hear her pupils describe the way she changed their lives for the better by giving them the support and opportunities they needed to succeed.”
Current headteacher Spencer Lewis said: “It was a very moving, dignified evening in which we were able to appropriately remember and pay tribute to a wonderful colleague, friend and leader.
“Dr Coleman was much loved and respected not only by those at Yavneh College but by people from across the community and from the world of education.
“She is sadly missed.”
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