Heartbroken students have started a petition to rename their school in memory of their headteacher.
The “one in a million” Kevin McKellar, who worked at Hendon School, in Golders Rise, died over the bank holiday weekend.
The Times Series has received tributes from former pupils from across the globe, which described him as a man “brimming with love and inspiration” for his students and work.
More than 360 people have now signed a petition on change.org calling on the board of governors to change Hendon School’s name to The Kevin McKellar School in his honour.
The petition reads: “He was known for the effort he put into ensuring everyone at the school was safe, happy and cared for. His humour and compassion will be forever remembered.
“This incredible man needs to be commemorated in a way that is permanent and recognises the extensive and tireless work he did for the school.”
Hendon MP Matthew Offord said: “That would be a nice touch and I am impressed the students have reacted so quickly.
“It shows how he was held in high esteem – and let’s be frank, not all teachers are. The pupils really loved him.
“I often told him I wish I’d had a headteacher like him. I am really saddened by his death.”
Mr McKellar taught at schools across the country, including the Rokeby School in Canning Town and Cumberland School in Plaistow.
He joined Hendon School nine years ago and is credited with taking it out of special measures, before transforming it “beyond recognition”.
Under his leadership, by 2011, Ofsted inspectors gave it an 'outstanding' rating and named it one of the “best comprehensives in Barnet”.
Mr McKellar was also passionate about promoting the Japanese culture through teaching and exchange programmes.
His daughter, Lili McKellar, said: “My dad was an amazing man, father and headteacher. Words cannot express how much he will be missed.
“I want him to be remembered for moments like him running around Tesco’s singing and doing a spiritual dance.
“He helped so many students improve their English and get them up from Ds to A*s. Thank you for the support from all Hendon School pupils. He loved you and the school with all his heart.”
Hundreds have turned out to pay their respects at the school, leaving flowers and messages in tribute.
Catherine Reidy, who left the school two years ago, has fond memories of how he called the younger year groups his “babies” and forged close bonds with all pupils.
She recalled how he would come to the school on Saturdays with his dogs to give pupils extra English lessons before exams.
She said: “He never gave up on a student, no matter how troubled or badly behaved they were - he believed in us all and had faith in us.
“It’s hard to accept that somebody so vibrant and energetic could be gone. It’s a rare thing, to meet somebody with a heart as full to the brim with love and compassion as his.
“He thought everybody was a genius – but he was the genius. You leave the brightest light behind. Thank you endlessly.”
Blair Kandolo, whose two daughters attended the school, said: “He was a gentleman and a perfect teacher. When the kids did wrong, he corrected them in a way that reminded me of my own head back in Africa.
“He was firm and motivating. He loved his job and the school.”
Irfan Ashraf, who was taught by Mr McKellar at Hendon School, added: “He was an amazing teacher and taught me so much. He assisted me whenever I needed something.
“Hendon School will never be the same again.”
Another former pupil, Katie Osborne told the Times Series: “You will always be remembered as a funny and kind teacher to all your students at Cumberland.
“You gave everyone a chance - even the naughty kids that not many teachers had time for. The world has lost a great spark.”
To sign the petition, click here.
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