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Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Page: 306

Mr MATHESON (Macarthur) (09:42): Today I would like to pay tribute to a much-loved member of my community who passed away suddenly in January from complications following surgery. Stephen Bomford was only 58 years old and the principal of St Peter's Anglican Primary School in Campbelltown. He was a principal who knew most students at his school by name and would deliver a Freddo frog to each of them in their classroom on their birthday. If their birthday was in the school holidays, he would deliver a frog to them on their first day back at school so nobody missed out. He was a lovely man who not only dedicated his life to educating children but also loved to see them happy and with a smile on their face.

On 14 January I joined more than 2,000 people at Stephen's memorial service including past and present students, teachers, parents, his family members and friends. It was an emotional service which encapsulated his commitment to the students and staff at the school and the love he had for his family. He had dedicated 15 years of his life to St Peter's Anglican Primary School and was remembered as a passionate educator and a humble man who touched the lives of many Campbelltown families.

At the service, many of his colleagues and students spoke about his great vision, dedication, encouragement and deep Christian faith. In a recent addition of the Macarthur Advertiser, St Peter's Anglican Church minister, Reverend Nigel Fortescue, described Stephen as 'a selfless man who was full of energy and vitality'. He said Stephen was a man of great conviction, a man of great faith, and a man of great moral character and passion. He said that as a principal he always sought the best from every teacher, staff member and student who came through St Peter's and knew just about every student by name. Stephen was a great leader who brought out the best in those around him, students and teachers alike.

Deputy Principal, Robert Alderden said that the school had thrived under Stephen's inspiring and visionary leadership. Mr Alderden described Stephen as:

… a much-loved and highly respected man, a great friend, a devoted colleague, and an exemplary man of God.

At his memorial service, we were shown some video footage of the 2012 year 6 farewell. In his speech at the farewell, Stephen encouraged the students to remember what they had learned in school. He quoted from the movie Dead Poets Society: carpe diem, which is Latin for 'seize the day'.

Stephen told his students to make sure every day counts because every single day they have on earth was given to them as a gift from the Lord—a wonderful parting gift from this principal to his students. The school's 2009 captain Katherine Trotman also spoke at the service and said that Stephen was a truly wonderful headmaster who always encouraged her. Today I would like to pay tribute to this man who left behind a great legacy to the people of Macarthur. I am sure the children of St Peters will go on to do great things because of the wonderful example he set for them.

I am sure his wife, Michele, and his children, Christopher, Jennifer, and Justin, and stepdaughters, Catherine and Samantha, are very proud of his achievements. My thoughts and prayers are with them all at this difficult time. I am sure that, despite the sadness they feel, they are very proud of the man Stephen was and of the impact he had on so many lives, both young and not so young, throughout his career. Macarthur was very lucky to have such a dedicated teacher and a great visionary in our community, who will be missed by all who knew him.