A FORMER Lightcliffe man who went on to become a popular teacher in the North East has died after being hit by a car.
Tributes have been paid to Stephen Tose who taught at Hetton School in Houghton-on-Spring, Newcastle.
Shops in his village closed as a mark of respect and more than 1,000 mourners attended his funeral.
The father-of-two was walking home from a night out with friends, celebrating Leeds United’s win over Millwall, when he was struck by a car as he crossed the road in High Heaton, Newcastle, just yards away from his home.
The 57-year-old head of drama and English fought for his life in hospital for 11 days but he had suffered what proved to be fatal head injuries.
Mr Tose was brought up in Lightcliffe. He lived at Knowle Top Drive opposite Lightcliffe C. of E. Primary School where he was taught by head John Brooke.
“He was one of the most likeable pupils who came through school,” said Mr Brooke. He always cared about other people and would go out of his way for them.
“He contacted me through the Lightcliffe Cricket Cluwebsite and it was sad that we weren’t able to meet up. You don’t get many pupils going out of their way to track down their former teacher.
“You don’t remember all the pupils but I did with Stephen because of his nature.”
Bob Horne, of Lightcliffe, also recalled Mr Tose growing up. “I remember him being sports mad and he was always kicking a ball on the street. He always seemed to have a smile on his face.
“I remember all the family being very friendly and I have fond memories of them. We are all saddened with this terrible news which I heard through the Lightcliffe History Society.”
A picture of Mr Tose representing the school’s cricket team in 1965 is featured in a book based around Lightcliffe C.of E. called ‘The Story of a School’.
He later went on to attend Hipperholme Grammar School.
Mr Tose had moved to Tyneside for teaching training before taking up a position there.
As a mark of respect, all the businesses in High Heaton closed early as he was well known and admired in the area.
More than 1,000 people attended his funeral and the school’s tribute page received hundreds of entries from people paying their respects to the hugely popular teacher.
He leaves behind two young sons, Ethan, 10, and Harrison, seven, their mum Beverley Knight, brother John, 47, sister Gill, 54, and his mother Doreen, 80.