School honour for murdered teacher

HIS life may have been ended in an unspeakable act of violence back in January, but this week Robert Flowerday’s family have ensured that his name will be forever associated with the school he loved.

A Special Achievement Cup has been introduced in honour of the former teacher, who was murdered in his house on Mill Road in Crumlin.

The senseless slaying united the community in revulsion, with hundreds taking to the streets to join a vigil in his memory.

It was clear that Mr Flowerday, who continued to tutor young people after he retired from teaching, had made his mark.

The 64-year-old had lived alone, but in his own quiet, unassuming way he had helped shape hundreds of young lives. He had made a difference.

In recognition of that, his family decided to take steps to remember Robert for what he achieved - rather than the manner of his tragic death.

At the Antrim Grammar School prize night last week, Principal Jenny Lendrum announced a permanent tribute in memory of the esteemed local man.

She also revealed that the school plans to plant a memorial tree in his honour.

The cup has been donated to the school by the Flowerday family and will be awarded each year to the pupil in year 12 who has improved the most in GCSE maths.

It was presented for the very first time at last week’s ceremony.

Mrs Lendrum said it was a fitting tribute to a gifted educator, who had been a member of the team at the Steeple for 26 years.

“Sadly we were devastated as a school community to hear of the passing of former Antrim Grammar School teacher Mr Robert Flowerday who was cruelly taken from us in January,” she told a packed hall.

“Mr Flowerday was extremely well known in our school community but also in the wider community evidenced by the outpouring of emotion in the days that followed his death.

“The stories shared over the past months proved just what a remarkable man he was.

“We will remember him as being a kind, patient, encouraging and selfless individual who was committed to helping pupils become confident in the subject that he was passionate about – Mathematics.

“Mr Flowerday believed in pupils and as a result pupils believed in themselves.

“In Mr Flowerday’s honour a memorial tree will be planted to acknowledge just how remarkable he was.”

Though 13 years had passed since Robert had left his classroom for the last time, his bond with AGS remained firm.

“Mr Flowerday loved Antrim Grammar School and kept in touch with staff members as well as tutoring pupils right up until [his death].

“A special assembly took place in memory of him and all within the school community took time to acknowledge all that he had given to Antrim Grammar and the wider community throughout his teaching career.

“His Antrim Grammar School family will continue to remember the wonderful, genuine, gentle and caring man that was Robert Flowerday.”

Michael Owens (33) remains in custody charged with the alleged murder of Mr Flowerday as well as an alleged burglary at his home last December when £100 cash was stolen.

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