Donations pour in for memorial garden in tribute to teacher who died from COVID-19

Miles Lewis with youth members of Letchworth Garden City Rugby Football Club

Miles Lewis (far left) with youth members of Letchworth Garden City Rugby Football Club - Credit: Chris Lunnon

A fundraising appeal to create a memorial garden in memory of a much-loved teacher who died from coronavirus has reached more than double its target.

Miles Lewis, 54, had been a teacher at Samuel Whitbread Academy in Clifton for 26 years and was later assistant headteacher at the Academy of Central Bedfordshire, which has a campus in Stotfold.

Miles - who leaves behind his wife Yolanda, children Freya and Harry, step-children Kayte and Nathan, and grandchildren Ava and Jackson - died last Saturday, January 9, at Bedford Hospital.

Yolanda, who met Miles as a colleague in 2001, said: "He was a lovely husband, a lovely man. He was the most selfless person, kind, helpful and a big character. He never really put himself first and was always helping others if he could."

Miles had such a big heart he even spent three hours during lockdown delivering newspapers, after going to his local shop and discovering a paper boy had not turned up to work.

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Yolanda continued: "Him not being here is such a shock. He tested positive for COVID and initially he was fine. He had no symptoms, but things took a turn for the worse and it was very quick. 

"We had so many plans. We were going to move to the coast and buy a dog. 

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"I was very privileged to have had him in my life, albeit for nowhere near as long as I had wanted.

"To those people out there who think COVID is a hoax, it is not and you must take it seriously."

A spokesman for Samuel Whitbread Academy said: "Miles had a phenomenal impact on everyone at the school. During his time here he taught PE, science and geography.

"He was a keen sportsman and played centre for Letchworth Garden City Rugby Football Club 1st XV, but his real passion was pastoral work and supporting young people as their head of year, as well as supporting and mentoring members of staff in their pastoral roles.

"Miles was an outstanding head of year. He supported thousands of students through the highs and lows of their teenage years.

"Everyone who knew Miles couldn’t help but be struck by his incredibly generous and caring personality and his overwhelming desire to help people.

"An ex-student had the wonderful idea of building a memorial garden on our school site, which will be a quiet space for students and staff to remember Miles, but also somewhere for anyone to visit in order to reflect and collect their thoughts."

An online appeal to help fund the creation of the memorial garden has so far raised more than £5,000 - more than double its £2,500 target. To make a donation visit

A spokesman for Letchworth RFC said: "What a fantastic character he was on and off the field.

"He came through our junior and colts sides to play for the firsts for several years, till his gammy knee cut short his playing career. He took up refereeing and coaching in his hugely entertaining and original style.

"He was brilliantly funny and entertaining.

"Miles stayed involved with the club on the coaching side, bringing through another generation of Legends."

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