Tribute to Westbury teacher

This Is Wiltshire: Teacher Alistair Banks during a fundraising event in 2011 Teacher Alistair Banks during a fundraising event in 2011

A fundraising day will be held at Matravers School, Westbury, in tribute to former assistant head Alistair Banks, who died in January after suffering from motor neurone disease.

After being diagnosed in 2010, Mr Banks was chosen as the face of the Motor Neurone Disease Association’s 2011 awareness campaign.

Mr Banks, 42, who lived with wife Alice and two children in Beckington, became a passionate campaigner for MNDA, taking part in charity events to raise money.

MND is a rapidly progressive disease that attacks the motor neurones in the brain and spinal cord, meaning messages gradually stop reaching muscles.

The school is now planning a non-uniform day on March 22, as well as future events to raise money.

MND claimed the lives of film actor David Niven and former England football manager Don Revie, but the most famous sufferer, scientist Stephen Hawking, has survived with it for more than 40 years.

Matravers deputy headteacher Richard Haupt said: “Alistair Banks was a polished teacher and students became very loyal to him because they saw in him a person who cared deeply about their progress and someone who treated them with dignity and respect.

“Alistair only made friends and never enemies. He was just so charming, handsome and witty. He was also hugely intelligent, insightful and articulate.

“He was well known among his peers as “the voice of reason” and, in every respect, he was level-headed, sensible, balanced and measured.

“However, he also had a wicked sense of humour and was capable of delivering hilarious one liners, with just the hint of a wry smile.”

A keen musician and drummer, Mr Banks also recorded an album, The Incurable Optimist, with his band, available on CD from the MNDA shop.

Mr Haupt added: “He was taken away from us all too soon. He would have made a wonderful headteacher.”

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