Vanessa Hardy: A Tribute

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News - 18 October

It is with deep sadness that we report the death of Vanessa Hardy, founding Chair of the Tenterden Schools Trust Board of Trustees and a former Chair of Governors of St Michael’s CE Primary School, Tenterden, who passed away on 30th September 2021.

Vanessa’s contribution to the development and establishment of the Tenterden Schools Trust was invaluable.  As its founding Chair, she provided support and advice to everyone involved in leading the schools in the Trust and ensured that its vision and values were always in clear sight.  She believed passionately in the importance of community and in the idea that local schools all benefit from working closely in partnership with each other.  She worked tirelessly to ensure that this dream was realised for the town of Tenterden.

Vanessa had a background in accounts and consequently brought strong financial support and guidance to the Trust.  She also had significant experience in governance having spent several years as Chair of the Governing Body at St Michael’s CE Primary School before becoming Chair of the Trust Board when it launched in December 2016.  She remained as Chair until she became unwell in July 2021.

Beyond all the relevant and vital experience Vanessa brought to her role, it was her calm, kind, generous and caring personality which helped to make her such a wonderful person to work alongside. Everyone who got to know Vanessa through her work with our schools came to love and respect her.  She will be greatly missed by us all.

Sally Lees, founding TST CEO commented:

“Vanessa was the best Chair I could have hoped to be working with as we set up and established the Tenterden Schools Trust.  We were doing something pioneering in bringing together all local schools, nursery, primary and secondary, Church of England and community, into a single Multi-Academy Trust.  Vanessa was unwavering in her determination to achieve this goal and her energy, compassion and wisdom played a huge part in our success.  Vanessa was always really proud of the Tenterden Schools Trust and we were all really proud of her.  She was personally very supportive of me and I will miss her very much indeed.  She has left a strong legacy behind her and she will remain in our memories as a great colleague and friend and a very special person.”

Stuart Reeves, current CEO of TST added:

“Vanessa interviewed me for the role of Chief Executive and I could tell then that she had a passion for the local community and for schools to work in harmony with each other for the greater good.  My association with her was all too brief but I recognised her warmth, enthusiasm and professionalism and I am confident that her vision and values will continue to shine brightly at the Trust for many years to come.”

Our deepest sympathies go to Vanessa’s husband John, her daughter Emma and all her family.