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Poltair teacher Darren Fitzgerald goes that extra mile to get to class

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 14, 2014

By Caroline Chick

  • TOP MARKS: Darren Fitzgerald at Poltair School.

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THERE'S going the extra mile and then there's going the extra 40 miles.

That's what one dedicated teacher did when he took a taxi all the way from Plymouth to Poltair School in St Austell.

Darren Fitzgerald paid for the £51.50 fare out of his own pocket after his train was cancelled because of the storms on Wednesday.

The ICT teacher said there was no way he was going to allow the cancelled First Great Western train and lack of replacement bus service to St Austell to derail his plan to get to work.

Mr Fitzgerald, who lives on the outskirts of Plymouth, said: "With a shortage of supply teachers in Cornwall it was essential that I got in. I rang around five different taxis and finally managed to get one.

"The taxi driver did mention that he had made the journey a few times down to Cornwall when the trains have been unable to run."

Mr Fitzgerald's journey was quite eventful because of the gale force winds and rain overnight and included a stop so that he could withdraw the money to pay for his trip.

He said: "You could see some of the damage on a local level, there were plenty of workmen clearing the debris and a high volume of traffic.

"I managed to make it into to school just after the start of the first lesson.

"Neither rain or gale force winds were going to stop me getting in – the lessons and work had to go on.

"The children seemed very appreciative that I was there."

Stephen Tong, head teacher, commended both the staff and pupils for their resilience and efforts to make it into school on time during the storm weather.

He added Mr Fitzgerald clearly went the extra mile to ensure the children were not without their regular teacher and received the "best educational resource".

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