Ceremony in memory of Emma and Jay Gray: school gathers to remember an ‘always smiling’ teacher

Tributes: children read at a memorial service for Jonathan and Emma Gray at Holy Trinity CE Primary School, Halifax where she was a teacher

Tributes: children read at a memorial service for Jonathan and Emma Gray at Holy Trinity CE Primary School, Halifax where she was a teacher

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A SCHOOL community came together for a moving service in memory of their much-loved teacher Emma Gray and her husband Jay.

Children, parents, governors and staff gathered on the playground at Holy Trinity Primary School in yesterday’s glorious sunshine to celebrate the lives of the newlyweds, who tragically died in a road accident on honeymoon in the Maldives in August.

Emma and  Jonathan Gray

Emma and Jonathan Gray

The couple’s family - including their baby boy Jake - were invited to witness the touching ceremony where everyone held hands and wore purple, Emma’s favourite colour.

Headteacher Roger Bateman told the children: “It’s a day of celebration, where we think about the wonderful things Miss Oldfield [Emma’s maiden name] did for us. The sun is shining today - we couldn’t have planned a better day for it because whereever Miss Oldfield went around school she shined sunshine and made people feel happy.”

Emma’s father, Rodney Oldfield, helped plant an apple tree in the school’s memorial garden - a tree which had previously been planted by Emma and Jay, both 29, at their home on Heath Lea, Halifax.

Lavender flowers will be planted later this year to create a sea of purple around the tree.

Pupils from Emma’s class read out their memories and spoke of her “bubbly personality” and love of maths and history.

One pupil wrote: “She always had a smile on her face and was happy and jolly and was always enthusiastic and encouraging us.

“Coming to school was fun because she made learning fun for all of us. I will always remember her - a lively teacher who I will never forget.”

After singing the hymn Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace - which was sung at the couple’s wedding, and funeral - the crowd watched as 16 purple balloons were released into the sky.

The ceremony followed a Challenge Day, where the children had taken part in various activities - a day planned by Miss Oldfield, the school’s gifted and talented teacher, before she died.

Speaking afterwards, Emma’s father Mr Oldfield thanked everyone and said the ceremony had been a “nice, moving occasion”.