Scarborough unveils tribute to Sheffield Girls’ headteacher

Student Anna Eason, artist Joe Scarborough and Valerie Dunsford, headteacher at Sheffield Girls’.

Sheffield artist Joe Scarborough went back to school for inspiration for his latest masterpiece.

Joe was invited by Sheffield High School for Girls to paint one of his ambitious city panorama chronicles to help mark headteacher Valerie Dunsford’s retirement.

He chose some of the iconic buildings, scenes and moments throughout Valerie’s 14 years at the school, celebrating many familiar and fond memories from school productions to music and trips abroad to create “School Days”.

The painting will also help develop the school’s outreach programme as 500 limited edition prints, signed by Joe Scarborough, are now on sale for £40 each from the school.

Valerie, who is due to retire at the end of the summer term and who recently won a Lifetime Achievement accolade at the Pearson Teaching Awards, was also treated at a celebratory party to a portrait of herself by budding artist and A Level student Anna Eason.

Valerie said: “I was so honoured to receive the painting by Joe Scarborough, it is such a thoughtful gift and one which I will cherish. Anna’s painting is amazing.

“Joe takes his inspiration from every day for his paintings but what he creates is extraordinary as an established artist, while Anna is only starting her journey in the field.

“Joe picked up on so many school and personal memories I have from the Taj Mahal, a nod to the cultural and community trip which I organised in February 2017 and which will be happening again in 2019, to the ski trip, the Wizard of Oz production, the equestrian team and girls taking part in sport as well as my love of music with the choir and orchestra.

‘It was such a special day, which I will never forget. It was wonderful to see so many of the old girls back in school and to hear about all the things they are up to now at university or in their careers.’”

Student Anna Eason added: “It was an honour to paint Mrs Dunsford’s portrait. She has been an inspiration to so many students here over the past 14 years.”

More than 1200 guests attended the party for Valerie including pupils, former pupils, their families and friends of the school.

Guests were entertained with musical and gymnastic performances by current pupils, a silent disco and garden games while food was provided by Proove Pizza and food-based businesses run by former pupils including Hattie and Emily Webster who own Fizz and Fromage, Lizzie Schofield who runs Bakes by Butter and Froconut by Elly Blackwell.

Joe Scarborough is one of South Yorkshire’s most successful painters and his works adorn the walls of private and public buildings across the region.

Anyone wanting to purchase a limited edition print of School Days should email Alison Gardner on a.gardner@she.gdst.net