Tributes to popular Norfolk teacher

Victoria NichollsMore than 1,100 people have joined a Facebook page in tribute to a popular Norfolk teacher who died of pancreatic cancer.Victoria Nicholls

More than 1,100 people have joined a Facebook page in tribute to a popular Norfolk teacher who died of pancreatic cancer.

Paul Turner, who taught maths at Hobart High School in Loddon for nearly 30 years, died on May 9, having only being diagnosed with the disease in February.

Now his family are determined to raise awareness and money for Pancreatic Cancer UK by setting up a webpage where people can donate and find out more about the disease.

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths in Europe and the USA, with more than 7,500 people diagnosed with it every year in the UK. Diagnosis can be difficult as symptoms can vary hugely, and supporters of the charity say it gets little funding and publicity compared to other types of cancer.

Mr Turner's daughter Ellen said: 'Most people who have it don't get diagnosed until it has taken over a large part of the body. Once diagnosed, it spreads like fire and there is no way of curing it. Patients just have to accept that they have a terminal illness, so the focus is on lengthening the time they have left, and making them as comfortable as possible.'

She said nothing was more important to her father than his family and friends.

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'He lived a very happy life,' she said. 'He was the best Dad to Beth and I in so many ways. He always had time to listen and we loved him so much. We still can't get over the fact that he has gone. However, we are looking to the future now…Dad wanted to abolish the word 'hate' and was always urging us not to look back.'

The inundation of messages of love and affection by ex-pupils on Facebook page RIP Mr Turner prove how highly he was regarded, not only as an 'inspirational' teacher but also as a warm and friendly person.

One tribute reads: 'He will be greatly missed. I will never forget the image of him whizzing up the high street on his bike! He was a lovely guy and an amazing teacher. RIP Mr T.'

Another reads: 'Such a fantastic man, I only saw him again a couple of weeks ago, after leaving school 10 yrs, I got a lovely smile and a recognised greeting, such a lovely warm person. All the best Mr Turner, you will be sadly missed by all that you have touched, may angels greet you with open arms x.'

Mr Turner, who lived in Loddon and was 56, completed his probationary teaching year at Hewett School in Norwich in 1979 before joining Hobart High School as a maths teacher the following year. He loved the outdoors and retired in August with aspirations to renovate his house and travel the world in his motorhome. He also loved cycling, running, pilates and walks on the beach.

Hobart's headteacher John Robson said: 'During his 29 years at the school, Paul taught significant numbers of pupils as they passed through the school and is evident from past pupils' comments on Facebook he was highly respected.'

He added: 'Paul left the school in August 2009 and it is with great sadness that his plans for the future were cut short by his untimely death.'

Mr Turner's family said: 'He will be missed terribly as a dad, son, uncle and friend.'

He leaves daughters Ellen and Beth and his mother Olive.

Anybody wishing to donate to the charity in Mr Turner's memory can do so via