Portadown College joined with the wider community on Friday 3rd May to remember their esteemed Principal, Mr Simon Harper, in a Service of Commemoration at St Mark’s, Portadown.


Staff, students past and present, governors, parents, representatives from local schools in the area and the world of education, were present, alongside Mr Harper’s partner, family and close friends.


In a service that saw representatives from across the College community participate, Vice-Principal, Miss Gillian Gibb presented a tribute on behalf of the staff, noting Mr Harper’s “gift for lifting people” and “his distinctive personal touch”. She added, “As a man of physical and moral stature, he literally did seem omnipresent in PC…in the canteen, in the corridors, in the foyer, at his favourite spot just outside the Library at the end of breaktime with a smile on his face and a joke on the make, he was ever at the helm of what he fondly termed the ‘good ship PC’.”


Head Girl Joanna Kerr delivered the student tribute, summing up her Principal as “not a man to take himself too seriously” and “ready to jump headfirst into something different”.  She recalled his memorable motivational assembly based on the Sia song ’I’ve Got Stamina’, sharing the lasting personal impact this has had on her.


As Head Boy Chris Thornbury presented Mr Harper’s family with a Book of Condolence from the College community, the College Chamber Choir brought the service to a poignant close with ‘An Irish Blessing’


As a College Community, there will continue to be many fond memories to share of a Principal, a colleague and a friend who made a lasting mark during his nine years with us in Portadown College.