Access Keys:

Kilronan School, Magherafelt

Mr Jack Chapman MBE

12th May 2022

It is with deep sorrow that we share the news of the sudden passing of our long serving friend Mr Jack Chapman.  For the last 35 years Mr Jack Chapman has worked selflessly as Chairman of the Board of Governors of Townparks and then Kilronan School.  He took a personal interest in each pupil, family and staff member and constantly strived to promote the school in the community and beyond, for the benefit of all pupils.  From 1991-93 Jack played a very active role in the building of the new Kilronan School when he led Governors and galvanised the local community to raise half the costs of building a hydrotherapy pool for the school.   With the benefit of a background in engineering, he lobbied for and enthusiastically took an active role in the maintenance of and extensions to the school building, providing invaluable support to each school principal.   He always attended special assemblies, open days, celebrations of learning/prize days and other school event.  A highlight for everyone was when he took on the role of Santa each Christmas, donning the famous red suit and distributing a gift to each child.   He was a dedicated ambassador for the school and for many years lobbied for improved Post 19 provision.  Jack advocated for pupils and adults with severe learning difficulties and actively sought out new and exciting learning opportunities for pupils in the local community.   An example is a project with the local fishing club where he accompanied pupils on fishing trips and showed them how to prepare and cook the fish they had caught.  He also organised for a class to have the experience of following a salmon from birth to release into the river.   He personally and successfully applied for funding/grants for equipment/resources for the school e.g.  play equipment for wheelchair users.  As a parent of a child with a disability he always gave generously of his time to support parents, particularly in times of crisis.   Eight years ago, Jack’s daughter Gillian passed away.   Gillian was a past pupil of Townparks School.  Despite his personal grief and loss, he became even more committed to improving provision for pupils with severe learning difficulties, being instrumental in developing an extremely successful link with 1st Magherafelt Presbyterian Church, which enables pupils to develop hospitality and catering skills.   This link also provided much needed work experience for senior pupils, where pre Covid they helped out at the Mums and Tots group and assisted the church caretaker.  In October 2018 Kilronan celebrated 25 years on the current site.   Our school emblem is a tree.   Throughout these 25 years and beyond Jack has been tending this tree.   He has watered it, pruned it, watched it grow and flourish.  As we celebrated a quarter of a century of special education in Kilronan it was fitting that Jack was granted recognition for his outstanding service to children and young people with learning difficulties within the Magherafelt area, being bestowed with an MBE in 2019.  On behalf of the Board of Governors, Staff, Pupils and Parents we extend our deepest sympathy to his much loved family, wife Maisie, daughter Diane, son in law, David, grandchildren Matt and Sam and his wider family circle. 

’I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith’’.  2 Timothy 4 v 7