Pictured Principal Tom Skelton
MP for North Antrim Ian Paisley has expressed his shock and sadness to learn about the sudden death of Dalriada School Principal, Mr Tom Skelton.
The much loved and respected County Antrim man died peacefully at Causeway Hospital on Thursday 8th February 2024, with his family at his bedside.
Sharing condolences and paying tribute to Mr Skelton, the North Antrim MP said:
"Like most people who heard the news this morning, I was absolutely shocked.
"Tom had engaged me on many occasions to help with the school, and to hear of his death is shocking and very sad.
"At a personal level I express my condolences to his family and close friends. However his school community will be in a state of shock and mourning also. To them I want to assure them of our thoughts and prayers at this time.
"Tom had become an institution in the town and in education environment since he became principle in 2007. The school excelled under his leadership and his presence will be missed."
Dalriada School announced with "profound regret and sadness" the passing of their "esteemed Headmaster, colleague and friend, Mr Tom Skelton" and said their thoughts and prayers were with Mr Skelton's family.
"Mr Skelton was loved by so many in our school community and this will be a challenging time for our staff, pupils and families."
Brian Dillon, Chairman of the Board of Governors at Dalriada School, said:
“Throughout his 16 years as Head of Dalriada School, Tom Skelton worked closely with governors, staff and parents to provide an excellent education for all pupils.
"Tom, with his energetic enthusiasm, approachable attitude and sense of humour provided outstanding leadership creating a great staff team. He adopted a "hands on approach' putting the pupils first and with a love of education continued weekly teaching throughout his Headship.
"He will be very sadly missed by the Dalriada community and by the many organisations he was involved with outside school.”
Dr Ian Walker and Ms Louise Crawford, Deputy Heads of the school added that “he lived and breathed Dalriada. He had a pride in the school, always putting the staff and pupils at the centre of everything he did. He was head of our school family, and his humour and unwavering encouragement will be dearly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing and working with him."
The school's statement finished:
"We pass on our sincere sympathies to his wife Wilma, his sons Thomas and Andrew, daughters Emma and Alice and his sister June."
A funeral notice for Mr Skelton has been published by DJM Robinson & Son, stating:
"Skelton February, 8th 2024 suddenly (but peacefully) at the Causeway Hospital.
"Thomas James dearly loved husband of Wilma, 38 Lisboy Road, Ballymoney, much loved Dad of Thomas Jnr., Andrew, Emma and Alice, very dear brother of June and the late Robert and Heather and a dear brother in law and uncle.
"Funeral Service at 3.00pm on Sunday in First Kilraughts Presbyterian Church, burial afterwards in the adjoining graveyard.
"Donations in lieu of flowers, if desired, to Chest, Heart & Stroke, c/o DJM Robinson & Son, 121 Culcrum Road, Cloughmills, BT44 9DT.
"Lovingly Remembered. The Lord is my Shepherd".