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News Archive > General > Tributes paid to teaching legend

Tributes paid to teaching legend

By Warren Wilkins 28th May 2014

Tributes paid to teaching legend

TRIBUTES have been paid to an inspirational Newquay teacher and sportsman who has passed away.

Steve Paice, who spent 33 years teaching at Newquay Tretherras, had a “massive impact” on the lives of countless hundreds of pupils he taught. Former pupils, who have described Steve as a “legend”, left many dozens of tributes on Facebook after learning he had lost his battle against cancer the day before his 66th birthday.

Steve, who was originally from Northern Rhodesia, started his Tretherras career in 1969 and was appointed as the head of the PE department at the age of only 24. He enjoyed his time at Tretherras with school camps being particularly memorable.

So many former pupils have stories of Steve relating to their time at school camp next to the River Wye and some interesting rapids, which children were encouraged to swim down, with the “Please Sir I’m drowning” line a highlight.

Steve participated in many sports including gymnastics, water polo, diving, athletics and his favourite sports of swimming and rugby. He was a particularly talented rugby player and played prop for Newquay Hornets from 1973 to 1983 and for Cornwall 16 times between 1979 and 1983, which was a record for a Hornets player.

Steve, who was a committed family man, leaves his wife Barbara and four daughters, Debbie, Kathryn, Nicki and Michelle. His funeral was held yesterday (Tuesday) at Penmount Crematorium and was attended by many family,  friends and former colleagues.

The eulogy recalled: “Steve had a massive impact on pupils and staff – ‘you could always rely on Steve to lend a sympathetic ear’ and ‘he was such a committed and inspirational mentor, above all he gave me huge confidence and self belief’ – always ready to offer help and encouragement. At Tretherras many staff referred to him as dad.

“Pupils just thought he was a legend. He made a difference. Hardworking and inspirational, Steve became senior assistant head and a key member of the leadership team-and, for a number of years, enjoyed producing the school timetable – this really suited his problem-solving ability.

“Sense of fun and mischief are recurrent themes with Steve but, above all though, Steve was a family man. Family always came first – his beloved Barbara and their girls Debbie, Kathryn, Nicki and Michelle.”  

Daughter Debbie Paice-Phillips led tributes, saying: “My dad was a dedicated teacher and we’ve been touched by all the heartfelt messages we have received since my father lost his battle against cancer.

“Above all else, my dad was a family man, devoted to his wife Barbara, and us four girls, a wonderful grandad to his six grandchildren. 

“He loved his family and was a fantastic brother and uncle to his many nephews and nieces and their children, earning him the nickname “tickly Uncle Stephen”.

“We all miss him more than words can say but we are comforted by our very many happy memories.”

Peter Bennett, a colleague at Newquay Tretherras, said: “I was very fortunate that I started my teaching career with Steve as my head of department, as he was such a committed and inspirational mentor.  Above all, he gave me huge confidence and self-belief – and everything was such fun in those early days! Just like the hundreds of ex-students that I have met over the years I have such treasured memories of those weeks each summer and the crazy things we did!

As we both began to realise that a) You can’t be a PE teacher forever and b) we didn’t want to leave Tretherras to further our careers – then new opportunities arose for both of us. Once again, he was so encouraging and I owe much of my progression to him. Steve was the kindest and most genuine and honest man I have known and, above all, a family man.”

By Warren Wilkins 28th May 2014

John Lewis 29th May 2014 16:44
Hi, Steve was a really great bloke.He taught my son Ryan to play rugby and was always nice.
Steve you will be remembered as someone special.
Steve Greenhalf 18th April 2017 19:42
Steve was my PE teacher / swimming coach at Aylesbury Grammar School ´69 - 70. So sorry to hear of his pasing whilst on a trip through the past on the ´web. He was an inspiration to me in the sixth form when swimming was my life. The final two weeks of my schooling was spent on a school holiday canoe-ing down the Ardeche follwed by a week on the Med - all for £40.00! Steve was the leader - and kept us going - canoe-ing 29 km down the river, running up the huge hills in the evening. If my memory serves me well, Steve´s wife accompanied us too. Certain parts of the river were a tad embarrasing :) I just had to write a line as I have always remembered Steve - and I´m reaching 65 yo this year. People like Steve are few and far between.
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