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Tributes to dedicated Hart Memorial teacher who was positive role model for many

The funeral will take place later this week of a popular, retired Portadown teacher and vice-principal.

Ronald (Ronnie) Best, who was in his 80s, died suddenly at Craigavon Area Hospital on Saturday.

Julie Shipley, principal of Hart Memorial Primary School, where Mr Best taught for many years, extended her condolences to the family.

She said: “When Ronnie retired in 1991, I took over his P7 class. I know he was held in great esteem.”

Stephen Blevins, former principal of Orchard County PS, tweeted: “Sad to hear that my P7 teacher and former Hart Memorial PS vice-principal Ronnie Best has passed away suddenly.

“Ronnie was a great teacher who served the Hart and the Portadown community loyally over many years.”

Alderman Kenneth Twyble, who lived opposite Mr Best at Enniscrone Park in Portadown, knew him for many years and described him as a “very good friend and neighbour”.

He said: “He was of the old school. He had such a wonderful time teaching in Hart Memorial and he was much missed when he retired.

“He was a good, steadying influence on a lot of young people growing up and an advocate of good citizenship.

“He had a great interest in gardening and collecting military memorabilia and those were his main interests when he retired.

“He lost his wife about a year-and-half ago and sadly he went downhill after that.”

Mr Best was the husband of the late Ruby and father of Michael.

A funeral service will take place on Thursday at 11am at Armagh Road Presbyterian Church followed by burial in Newmills Presbyterian Churchyard.

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