Former pupils raise £1,900 for popular Keynsham teacher after attack

Published on: 09 Mar 2014

CCTV Green Street

Hundreds of former Wellsway School pupils have sent cash and messages of support to a much-loved teacher whose bloodied and bruised photo made national headlines after she was attacked in January.

Jennie (Jean) Taylor was left with nasty head injuries after she was assaulted in her own home in Totterdown on January 28.

She was struck over the head by a man who came to the door of her house in Green Street, and who then stole £100 from her handbag.

Her shocked former pupils, many of whom still live locally, rallied round to replace her lost cash and buy her a bunch of flowers – but have been overwhelmed by the response.

Helene Cook set up a Facebook group to spread the word about the attack and the fundraising appeal – and the sum has now reached almost £1,900 as tributes pour in.

Mum-of-two Helene, who has organised reunions with her old schoolmates before, said she had been in touch with retired English teacher Miss Taylor, who hopes to meet up with some of her former students soon when they will show her the messages they have received.

“She was thrilled when I told her we’d raised £1,100 in two weeks. We are hoping she will splash out on something for herself.

“We also have pages of messages to print out. She is so fondly remembered and the messages are really heart-felt, about how she inspired pupils – some have even gone on to teach English themselves.

“She said she was surprised so many of us remembered her – but you wouldn’t forget a teacher who we thought of so fondly. She was always smiling at the front of the class.”

The messages and donations have come from nearly 550 former pupils who attended Wellsway School in the 1970s through to the 1990s, spanning 20 years of Miss Taylor’s teaching career.

Helene said: “It think the message we are all sending her is ‘Thank you for what you did for us and recover soon’.”

Police have issued a CCTV image of a man walking along Green Street around the time of the attack and are asking the public to help identify the man pictured.

The man who carried out the attack on Miss Taylor is described as white, in his late thirties or early forties and of medium build.

He was possibly wearing a green/grey hooded top, a baseball cap, faded blue jeans and dark shoes.

Appealing for information, Avon and Somerset Police Investigator Paul Hopes said: “We’ve had a lot of people get in touch with us either directly or through the media offering everything from flowers and money to free decorating work.

“I’m really heartened at the public’s response to what has been an horrific ordeal for Jean.”

A reward of up to £3,000 is being offered by the charity Crimestoppers for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible. Contact Crimestoppers on  0800 555 111.

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