Former Yorkshire Teacher of the Year winner dies of coronavirus

A retired headteacher who volunteered as the manager of Selby's food bank has died after contracting coronavirus.

Mark Barnett

Mark Barnett was in his late 60s and was also the former head of a primary school in York.

He was married with children and grandchildren and has been described as a 'community champion' by volunteers at the food bank.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A statement from Selby and District Food Bank read: "However you remember Mark, he was a huge character in so many people's lives. Big man, big voice, big presence; when Mark was about he meant business because he cared about and loved people.

"He had lots of energy to give and gave in abundance to so many causes, not least the Selby & District Food Bank where Mark (as manager) had been instrumental in helping shape the success of the food bank to ensure families and people in Selby received much-needed food parcels during desperate times of acute poverty.

"The hole Mark has left and sadness of those that he touched will remain in our memories. Mark, we will honour you with our mourning and remember a life full and worthy of celebration. Rest in peace."

Mark was head of Westfield Primary School in Acomb for 17 years until his retirement in 2008. He was once named Yorkshire Teacher of the Year and was congratulated in the House of Commons. He later worked as a consultant headteacher for City of York Council.

He was admitted to hospital in York with breathing difficulties and passed away on April 1 after contracting coronavirus.

His daughter Abby Knowles posted a tribute to her father on a York community Facebook page.

"Our lovely dad, Mark Barnett, passed away yesterday. He unfortunately died of the virus. He was so well cared-for at York Hospital and we can't thank the NHS staff enough.

"Dad knew lots of people from his time at Westfield Primary School, his time managing Selby Food Bank and his time being generally awesome."

Mark's death comes a week after Jonathan Rutter, who was in his late 50s and from Ripon, died after contracting coronavirus. He was the treasurer of Ripon Rugby Club and a former governor of Ripon Grammar School, and worked for HSBC in York.

A message from the editor - and how to subscribe for postal deliveries of The Yorkshire Post

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson

Editor