Helen Fletcher: TBSHS 1989-2020
3rd March 2020
Staff and students are, today (3rd March) shocked and saddened by the sudden and unexpected death of our School librarian Helen Fletcher.
Mrs Fletcher worked at the School for 31 years as School Librarian, and during that time had overseen the silent study of thousands of boys.
A typical librarian; quiet and unassuming, Mrs Fletcher was always somewhere about the library, yet she had the ability to raise her voice in a most commanding way, to reprimand talking or unsuitable student behaviour when necessary. She was most amused last year, to discover former pupil Greg James had based the librarian in his successful Children’s Books on her – “…… wonderful school librarian and secret superhero Mrs Fletcher (whose special power is that her head can turn into a foghorn)……”.
Helen worked under the tenure of four Headteachers (Mr Shaw, Mr Goulding, Mr Noble (Acting Head) and Mr Reeve), and she worked very closely with Barbara Shaw, (former Head, Ian Shaw’s wife), as they ran the library together during the early 1990’s.
Many former students will have fond memories of her and remember her with great affection.
Mrs Fletcher leaves a husband and adult step-children Sarah, Toby and Holly who are both former TBSHS pupils, and several grandchildren.
If you would like to send in a tribute, please email: email@example.com
Mrs Fletcher’s funeral will be held in early April, attended by family only. Her family hope to hold a memorial service after the current virus restrictions are lifted.
Mr Reeve, Headteacher said “We have, today, lost a dear member of our school community. Mrs Helen Fletcher, who had been our school librarian for 31 years, suffered a sudden heart attack and passed away this morning.
Mrs Fletcher made a very significant contribution over such a long period of time. She has impacted the lives of so many members of our school community, supported thousands of students and worked with hundreds of staff, volunteers and library helpers down the years. She was incredibly proud to be our school librarian and we are very grateful for the commitment she gave.”
So very sad to hear this news. As a loyal, compassionate and faithful member of TBSHS staff, Helen strove with her staff and student teams to make the school library an accessible and creative place for students where they could engage with quiet study, learning and working. This vision we applauded and treasured. Many generations of students have gained the benefits that have stemmed from using our library as a ‘sanctuary’ for quiet study and reflection.
Helen will be sorely missed by us all!
My thoughts and prayers are with her family and the whole school community as we endeavour to come to terms with her passing and reflect on her sterling contribution to the life of TBSHS over the years.
Paul Noble, Former Deputy Headteacher
I have some happy funny silly memories of our friend in school over many years. I am also saddened by this premature death. Please pass on my condolences and give everyone a hug.
Frank Beran, Former Head of Business Studies
Please pass on my condolences
Jane Jones, Former PA to the Head of 6th Form
Extremely sad news about Helen. Given our success in the quiz last night the timing is horribly ironic, as Helen always enjoyed it when we invaded the Library for a lunchtime of buzzers and bells.
Please pass on my condolences to her family and best wishes to all at school.
Tony Fraser, Debating Team Coach, Former Maths Teacher
Really sad to hear about her passing as she was always so helpful. Every time I needed something for exams or just general help in the library she always helped me. As well as everyone else. Nothing was too much trouble.
So sad to hear such a lovely person has passed. Hope everyone’s doing okay over there.
Condolences to family, friends & all staff & students at TBSHS.
What a legend!! R.I.P
TBSHS Legend. RIP
I am so sorry to hear this. Both my boys, being avid readers, have spent many hours in Mrs Fletcher’s company, and they will be extremely sad about her death. Please accept our condolences.
Gill Mullins (mum to Angus and Felix May)
Firstly I would like to offer you my condolences on the member of staff who sadly passed today. I’m sure she was a valid member of your team and I can only imagine how much the pupils appreciated her too.
Very sorry to hear the news of Mrs Fletcher, both Mr Taylor and I have fond memories of her from our TBSHS days.
Absolute legend sad loss
Sorry to hear the sad news about Helen. She gave so much to TBSHS over many years and will be greatly missed by all.
Andy Clare – Former Head of Art
Very sad news. Through 31 years, Mrs Fletcher has been a great part of this school. I still remember when I became a library helper in my first year at the school, a job I continued for 5 years. It wouldn’t have been the same without Mrs Fletcher. My thoughts are with her family.
So terribly sad, such a big part of so many’s TBSHS journey. Condolences to Mrs Fletcher’s family, friends, colleagues and students. Justine
I am so sorry to hear the news about Mrs Fletcher. The library was a key part of life at TBSHS, for me and many of my friends, Mrs Fletcher maintained it to the highest standards and inspired a love for books that I still have today. Sending love to her family and friends.
Rory Galloway – former student and library helper, 2001 to 2006
The school won’t be the same without Mrs Fletcher. She worked at the school for many years. And worked extremely hard to make the library fit for students and staff, with this she took much pride and it showed. She was a real asset to the school. I send my deepest condolences to her family and her husband in this sad time.
A sad loss – to both TBSHS and everyone whose path Helen crossed – RIP to such a lovely soul.
So sorry to hear of Helen’s death. She was a loyal, encouraging and supportive person who always spoke proudly of her work at TBSHS whenever I heard from her. Sending lots of love to all who are missing her at this sad time.
Kate Reader (nee Edwards)
TBSHS Head Girl 2001-2
I am so very sad to hear of Helen’s sudden passing. She was a great friend to me during my time working at TBSHS. She always had a smile on her face and always expressed how much she loved working with the library helpers. Her enthusiasm and dedication of training them was wonderful and she always took the time to inform myself and the relevant form tutor of their success. She provided a sanctuary for many students. On an entirely different note, Helen also made my breakfasts very special with her provision of fresh eggs from her chickens! The yolks were so tasty and we often had chats about whether they were or were not laying! She used to make my day when I came back to my desk to find a fresh box left for me!
Words cannot really express what a lovely lady she was and I want to pass on my sincere condolences to her family, friends and all those she worked with at TBSHS.
Emma Boniface (Torry)
Second generation library helper. I also served briefly. Helen (rightly) sacked me for not taking it seriously. She was a lovely lady, a great school librarian and, if memory serves, a talented musician playing the clarinet in the school orchestra on occasion. She will be missed.
Library’s biggest legend
So very sorry to hear this news. Helen was a constant ally in the battle to promote reading and a love of books, be it the Carnegie shortlisting, the reading projects and research we undertook over the years, the conversations we had. I will miss her greatly.
(Former Professional Tutor and English teacher)
If anyone was synonymous with a particular place at TBSHS, it was Mrs. Fletcher. For the Library of TBSHS, the heart and soul of any school, was and is Mrs. Fletcher and Mrs. Fletcher was and is the library. It was the most appropriate connection. In the morning, at lunch, in the afternoon, always after school and in the holidays, Mrs Fletcher cared for, nurtured and cultivated the professional pride and joy that was the library. Brilliant words indexed on the immaculately organised surrounding shelves were also wonderful actions by the librarian. Deeds and words. Generations passed through the library on any given school day, after school and over an extraordinary 31 years of dedicated service. Here we encountered the wonderful, wise and warm Mrs. Fletcher. Mrs. Fletcher led, nurtured, helped and encouraged all students, staff and her devoted team of parent helpers. With humility, integrity and character, Mrs. Fletcher set the standard. The seasons outside may have changed but Mrs. Fletcher remained always constant. A sanctuary. Sometimes people just need to go and talk with a friendly face. On charity days, Mrs. Fletcher quietly sought collectors out to make her donation. In the holidays, Mrs. Fletcher was always in school, enhancing the library; work hours in most of one summer holiday were spent refurbishing the library. The Library, and TBSHS, will not be the same. Memories and legacy never ever fade. Individuals are unique. Personal contributions are remembered personally. A truly devoted family person, Mrs. Fletcher was everything we aspire to. Every time we enter the library, we will reflect on Mrs. Fletcher’s kindness and class. No doubt, Mrs. Fletcher will be watching over us to ensure we are helping one another, issuing brilliant books, giving wonderful opportunities, hosting key events studying and, of course, reading in her library.
I am very sad to hear of this news. I am still shocked and find it difficult to accept that she is gone. We used to talk every time we saw each other, may it be in the corridor, the library or even in the ladies’ room. Mrs Fletcher was a good friend of mine, always smiling and ready to help or assist with anything. All my sympathy to her family. She will dearly be missed. May she rest in peace.
Mrs. Fletcher was an amazing lady. My abiding memory of her is that she taught me to use Encarta on the one computer we had in the school library back in 1993, massively broadening my intellectual horizons. I remember her being patient and generous with her time. She was both kind and authoritative, which is a fine line to walk. She did it supremely and was very well-liked as a result. RIP Helen. Adam Greenwood-Byrne
To the Fletcher family. I’m so sad to hear about our dear Helen. I helped her out in the library for many years. She always talked about you all and was so proud of her family. Helen was kind and so supportive to all the students. She will be greatly missed. She will live long in so many people’s memories. Rest in Peace Helen.
I was very sad to hear about this. I spent (wasted rather, very rarely would I do anything productive) most of my time in the library at break and lunchtimes and after school. Mrs. Fletcher was always a friendly face, a kind word and a helping hand. She was the first to sign my year book at the end of sixth form, which will remain with me as a key part of my time at TBSHS. Pass my condolences on to her family, I will be praying.
Such a sad loss. Helen joined TBSHS as our third qualified librarian and built up the Library based on their and Barbara Pashley’s good work.
Helen moved things on at a fast but secure rate, building up the volunteer systems of parents and pupils and prodigiously enlarging the facilities in 1990 including newly acquired shelving and introducing, with the overall help of Anthony O’Sullivan, computer systems to facilitate borrowing and security.
She had made a sterling contribution not only in the library but ensured she gave her time in other ways. She was interested in the development of the students not only in relation to study and literature but also appreciated their musical abilities. She added her lovely soprano voice to musical activities in the school and helped with make up in school productions.
It was a privilege to be educated by her in library skills and to share in her ideas and enthusiasms, not least the joy she took in her much loved family.
Or really, not that good a morning, when one hears of losing an invaluable member of the TBSHS community 🙁
In fact, thanks to her, I finished my silver DofE skills section in the library. Memories of Mrs Fletcher teaching me how to mend books, cataloging new ones and shelving the returned ones flash back to me vividly. The tasks were repetitive, but in that library there was a sense of calmness and ease and pleasure with the passing of time. I enjoyed my time volunteering there. She is the reason I know my ways around a library so well, feel at home, even. She had taught me how to enjoy and love and take care of a book, just as, I believe, she passed that passion on to the generations of pupils. “31 years”, “thousands of boys”, wow.
She will be missed with deep sorrow. Condolences to her family and friends.
Rest in peace, Mrs Fletcher.
It is very difficult to say just how sad I feel at Helen’s passing. I had the privilege of knowing her as the School Librarian and, later, as a colleague and friend. I spent many hours in the library, effectively a sanctuary, given extra time there to study and rest due to illness. Helen was always there, but she did far, far more than just being there, as countless current and former students and staff can attest.
Over many years, I would chat with her regularly. There was never an occasion where there was nothing to talk about! It was so rewarding and so much fun later working with Helen and keeping in touch, with the last time being just before Christmas.
At a gathering of friends and family in 2004, which Helen and her husband Mel attended, Helen and I spent almost the entire evening chatting to each other!
To her family, I offer my most sincere condolences for your great loss, and I hope your grief is met with the overwhelming love and appreciation so many of us hold for Helen.
Rest in peace, Helen.
ICT Support Assistant (Volunteer) 1998–2000
Helen Fletcher’s funeral took place on the 6th April 2020.
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions it was a family-only event, but the School sent their condolences to Helen’s family.