Tributes pour in for young Halifax teacher who inspired thousands of children

Tributes have been paid from across Halifax and around the world to a young maths teacher and performer who inspired thousands of children.

Monday, 16th November 2020, 12:02 pm
Updated Monday, 16th November 2020, 12:06 pm
Beth Smith, 31, of Savile Park,
Beth Smith, 31, of Savile Park,

Beth Smith, 31, of Savile Park, was the life and soul of any party and was a brilliant teacher and mathematician.

As part of Halifax-based White Rose Maths Beth helped change the way maths was taught around the world.

Halifax-born Beth collapsed and died suddenly on November 10 and hundreds of people have paid tribute on social media.

Beth was involved with Halifax Amateur Operatic Society and ran Halifax Amateurs’ Theatre Youth.

She wowed the audience with her lead role performance as Tracy Turnblad in the musical Hairspray at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax in 2014.

Speaking for her family, Beth’s sister Jeni Harvey said: “We are so proud of her.

"Yes, she was my little sister but she was out there inspiring people’s lives.

“She was only 31 but she has changed so many people’s lives.”

Beth was born to parents Margaret and John Harvey and grew up in Savile Park, attending Holy Trinity Junior and Infant School and Crossley Heath before training as a primary school teacher at York St John University.

She worked at several Halifax primary schools before joining White Rose Maths, part of Trinity Academy.

Beth helped create a new way of teaching maths and travelled the UK and the world, even training teachers in Beijing.

Thousands of youngsters will have seen Beth’s lessons as part of home-schooling during lockdown.

Jeni added: “What’s really touched us all is how many children, now teenagers, have said Beth inspired them and brought out their passion for performing and really helped build their confidence.

“If any good can come out of this it will be how Beth has inspired other people to live their lives, be confident and achieve their dreams.”

Beth wasn’t a trained singer but it was her energy and enthusiasm that audiences loved.

“She had a real zest for life,” said Jeni. “She was one of those people who would be leading the singing in a bar, up on stage, singing to Queen, Steps or S Club 7.

“When the curtain went back at the Victoria Theatre and my sister was there centre stage I was so overwhelmed I nearly cried.

“We are just so proud of her. Beth achieved so much more in her short life than most people do in a lifetime.

“As a family we have been enormously touched by messages from more than 500 colleagues and members of the acting community from literally all over the world. That’s really brought us great comfort.

“Beth’s legacy is to say ‘live your life to the full with a big smile on your face’ because that’s what she did.”

Beth also leaves a husband Ian and brother Paul.

A funeral will be held on December 4 but the family plan a big celebration of Beth’s life when restrictions allow.