Legacy of respected principal and friend

Family and friends of former Principal of Thornfield School Ann Ingram at a tree planting ceremony in the grounds in the school grounds. INNT 49-101-GR
Family and friends of former Principal of Thornfield School Ann Ingram at a tree planting ceremony in the grounds in the school grounds. INNT 49-101-GR
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A ceremony has honoured former Thornfield principal Ann Ingram, who dedicated her career to speech and language teaching.

The contribution of Mrs Ingram, who passed away in May, was marked during a tree planting ceremony at the school which she joined as a teacher in 1978 after leaving Rostulla Speech Unit.

Mrs Ingram subsequently held the post of principal at Thornfield House school from 1993 before retiring in 2002.

Her former colleague Ann Clements told the Newtownabbey Times: “Ann was vice principal under Paddy Sheriff, who was the first person to promote understanding of speech and language, and Ann continued with that.

“She helped to make people more aware of speech and language difficulties.

“She forged forward with better understanding and with getting children from mainstream schools placed in Thornfield.

“It was a big step for parents to take when their child had a difficulty and was placed in a special school but she made it as easy as possible.

“She was very knowledgeable and respected and people listened to her.

“She was quietly determined with a great sense of humour.

“She had a great relationship and rapport with pupils and was very supportive of her staff, as well as being absolutely devoted to her family.”

Following her retirement from Thornfield, Ann worked part-time as an educational psychologist for the NEELB, and remained a member of Thornfield school’s board of trustees until her death.

She also volunteered as a receptionist at the NI hospice, and attended an adult learning class in Latin at Queen’s University.

The tree planting ceremony was attended by several members of the Ingram family and former colleagues.

Ann continued: “The tree being planted in the grounds was very significant.

“It overlooks the playground where the children are playing so she is watching over us.

“We will all miss her as a friend and it’s desperately sad for her family, but she has left a good legacy.

“We will remember her as she always was, full of life and fun.”