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‘Huge loss for the community’: Tributes continue to pour in after popular headteacher’s sudden death

PUBLISHED: 16:56 28 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:14 28 May 2020

Wells Hall Primary School headteacher Jim Cleaver has died after suffering a heart attack aged 50. Picture: Gooderham PR

Wells Hall Primary School headteacher Jim Cleaver has died after suffering a heart attack aged 50. Picture: Gooderham PR

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A community has reacted with shock after the popular headteacher of Wells Hall Primary School, in Great Cornard, died suddenly, aged 50.

Jim Cleaver, pictured here in 2015 taking part in a charity event when he was headteacher at Westgate Primary in Bury St Edmunds, has died after suffering a heart attack aged 50. Picture: ANDY ABBOTTJim Cleaver, pictured here in 2015 taking part in a charity event when he was headteacher at Westgate Primary in Bury St Edmunds, has died after suffering a heart attack aged 50. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Jim Cleaver died on Sunday after suffering a heart attack on Sunday, having spent the day at home with his family.

The father-of-three was highly regarded in the community and had been headteacher at the school for three years, having had a long career in primary education.

Community leaders have expressed their sadness at their sudden loss.

Nadine Tamlyn, Great Cornard Parish Council manager, said: “It’s really very sad news.

Jim Cleaver, far right, pictured in 2017 with founder of The Daily Mile, Elaine Wyllie, James Payne and Abdul Razaq.
  Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWNJim Cleaver, far right, pictured in 2017 with founder of The Daily Mile, Elaine Wyllie, James Payne and Abdul Razaq. Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

“We know Jim to have been an essential part of the Wells School and his death will be a big loss to the Great Cornard community.

“We have offered our assistance to the school to see if we can do anything we can do to assist them at this difficult time.

“If they need any assistance with reopening the school, which was due to happen on Monday, then their governors can ask for our help.”

Mr Cleaver had previously been headteacher at Westgate Primary School, in Bury St Edmunds, before moving to Great Cornard.

Hundreds of people took to social media to pay tributes to Mr Cleaver.

One tribute read: “I would like Jim’s family to know how much help and support he gave to me and others. So sorry for you all.

Another took to social media, saying: “Sad, sad news, he was such a lovely, kind and down to earth man. Thinking of his family at this difficult time.”

In a statement issued by the Unity Schools Partnership on behalf of the school, tributes were paid to Mr Cleaver.

It said: “We all knew how important Jim’s family was to him, and we wish his wife, three daughters, parents, brother and sister and his wider family our very best wishes at this time of such sadness.

“The trust and school are proud to have been associated with Jim and are committed to building on the great work he has led at Wells Hall Primary School. In our intense sadness, we remember Jim’s work with great gratitude and with great regret that he was not with us for longer.”

Mr Cleaver was a big supporter of The Daily Mile, the initiative to get children doing daily exercise, and got behind an EADT/Ipswich Star campaign several years ago to get more schools to sign up to the initiative.

Wells Hall Primary was due, subject to further confirmation by the Government, to open to more children from June 1 but the school has today written to parents stating this will now be delayed and a new date confirmed later this week.


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