Reading terror attack victim named locally as teacher James Furlong

Teacher James Furlong has been named locally as one of the three victims of the Reading terror attack.

Mr Furlong was head of history, government and politics at The Holt School in Wokingham, and died during the incident, which took place at 7pm on Saturday in Forbury Gardens, in the town centre.

A letter from the school, which has been shared online, describes Mr Furlong as a "kind and gentle man" who had a "real sense of duty and cared for each and every one of our students".

It continues: "He truly inspired everyone he taught through his passion for his subject and his dedication. He was determined that our students would develop a critical awareness of global issues and in doing so become active citizens and have a voice."

The letter, written by co-headteachers Anne Kennedy and Katie Pearce, said lessons for tomorrow have been cancelled for all year groups, and counsellors will be onsite for students wishing to come to school and talk.

The local church will also be opened from 9am for people to go and light a candle in his memory.

Former pupils have paid tribute to the "inspirational" teacher, describing him as "the best".

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A police officer standing guard on Sunday outside the corridor of a top-floor flat in Basingstoke Road, Reading, where the suspect in the Forbury Gardens stabbings was detained. The suspect in the Reading stabbings is a Libyan asylum seeker and mental health is being considered a major factor in the incident, a security source has told the PA news agency.
A woman places some flowers at the Abbey gateway of Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre following a multiple stabbing attack in the gardens which took place at around 7pm on Saturday leaving three people dead and another three seriously injured.
Police at the Abbey gateway of Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre following a multiple stabbing attack in the gardens which took place at around 7pm on Saturday leaving three people dead and another three seriously injured.
A message left on some flowers at the Abbey gateway of Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre following a multiple stabbing attack in the gardens which took place at around 7pm on Saturday leaving three people dead and another three seriously injured.
Police at the Abbey gateway of Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre following a multiple stabbing attack in the gardens which took place at around 7pm on Saturday leaving three people dead and another three seriously injured.
Police near an entrance to Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre following a multiple stabbing attack in the gardens which took place at around 7pm on Saturday leaving three people dead and another three seriously injured.
Flowers and a message left at the Abbey gateway of Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre following a multiple stabbing attack in the gardens which took place at around 7pm on Saturday leaving three people dead and another three seriously injured.
Police at the Abbey gateway of Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre following a multiple stabbing attack in the gardens which took place at around 7pm on Saturday leaving three people dead and another three seriously injured.
Forensic officers at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre where they are responding to a "serious incident"
Armed police officers at a block of flats off the Basingstoke Rd in Reading after an incident at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre.
Emergency services at a block of flats off the Basingstoke Rd in Reading after an incident at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre.
Police at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre where they are responding to a "serious incident"
Emergency services at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre where they are responding to a "serious incident"
Police at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre where they are responding to a "serious incident"
Police at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre where they are responding to a "serious incident"
Police near Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre where they are responding to a "serious incident"
Police at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre where they are responding to a "serious incident"
Police at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre where they are responding to a "serious incident"
Police at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre where they are responding to a "serious incident"
Armed police officers at a block of flats off the Basingstoke Rd in Reading after an incident at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre.
Armed police officers at a block of flats off the Basingstoke Rd in Reading after an incident at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre.
Armed police officers at a block of flats off Basingstoke Rd in Reading after an incident at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre.
Armed police officers at a block of flats off Basingstoke Rd in Reading after an incident at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre.
An armed police officer at a block of flats off Basingstoke Rd in Reading after an incident at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre.
Armed police officers at a block of flats off Basingstoke Rd in Reading after an incident at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre.
TOPSHOT - Floral tributes are seen at a police cordon at the Abbey Gateway near Forbury Gardens park in Reading, west of London, on June 21, 2020 following a fatal stabbing incident the previous day. - British police said Sunday they were treating a stabbing spree in which a lone assailant killed three people in a park filled with families and friends in the southern English city of Reading as a "terrorism incident". (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
READING, ENGLAND - JUNE 21: A view of the outside of the top floor of a block of flats on the Basingstoke Road on June 21, 2020 in Reading, England. A lone attacker targeted groups of people socialising in Forbury Gardens stabbing them in the neck in what police are treating as a terror incident. Three people have died and three more who were injured are in a serious condition. Officers from Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTSPE) raided a block of flats in the city last night. A 25-year-old male Libyan National is in police custody. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Police officers secure a police cordon at the Abbey Gateway near Forbury Gardens park in Reading, west of London, on June 21, 2020 following a stabbing incident the previous day. - British police said Sunday they were keeping an open mind about what prompted a lone suspect to stab three people to death in a park filled with families and friends relaxing in the southern English city of Reading. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
READING, ENGLAND - JUNE 21: Flowers are left at an entrance to Forbury Gardens for the victims of the stabbing attack on June 21, 2020 in Reading, England. A lone attacker targeted groups of people socialising in Forbury Gardens stabbing them in the neck in what police are treating as a terror incident. Three people have died and three more injured and are in serious condition. Officers from Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTSPE) raided a block of flats in the city last night. A 25-year-old male Libyan National is in police custody. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Forensic officers at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre where they are responding to a "serious incident" (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
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Jade Simon, a pupil at The Holt from 2012-2017, told the PA news agency: "He really was an incredible teacher.

"He was funny and kind and always made history fun and entertaining. History was always one of my favourite subjects and Mr Furlong always encouraged it."

Keith Power, whose daughter attends the school, said: "He was a wonderful man. He was so helpful and supportive of my daughter. He had a real passion for history and teaching and was so caring of his pupils.

"It's so senseless. So much hatred in the world right now. I fear for my kid's futures."

Responding to the news, Wokingham Labour tweeted: "Devastated to discover that James Furlong, one of the victims of the Reading stabbings, was a teacher at the Holt.

"His loss is a devastating blow to his family, colleagues, students, the wider Holt family and our whole community. Our thoughts are with them all."

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