The Reading Chronicle has opened this online book of condolence to bring together tributes to teacher James Furlong.

James Furlong was tragically killed in the knife terror attack in Forbury Gardens on Saturday June 20.

Anyone who would like to pay tribute or offer their condolences is invited to leave a message on this page. Please be respectful and only leave messages that show sensitivity. These are difficult times for the family and the community.



To add your own contribution, click the red 'Add your contribution now' button below.

There may be a slight delay in your messages appearing on the page as they must first be approved by the Reading Chronicle staff.

Tributes to James Furlong

We are saddened to report these news. If you wish to leave a tribute for The Holt School teacher James Furlong, who was named the first victim of the Reading terror attack you can do so here. We welcome kind words and pictures.

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Reading Chronicle:

We are saddened to report these news. If you wish to leave a tribute for The Holt School teacher James Furlong, who was named the first victim of the Reading terror attack you can do so here. We welcome kind words and pictures.

I was shocked and saddened to hear of James’ passing in such tragic circumstances. I cannot imagine the heartache that your family must feel, words seem so inadequate to express my sadness. I knew James when we were both at University of Liverpool, he a young man, starting out in life and me a mature student with my working life behind me. He was a kind and caring young man, with a ready smile, Love let sense of humour and I enjoyed our conversations, he was so very thoughtful and I know he will be sadly missed by many. Although I now live near Liverpool, I was born and lived in Reading for forty years, when I awoke to the news of the senseless attack in the Forbury Gardens, I found it incomprehensible that a place which held such happy memories for me would own be remembered in a very different way. Wishing you comfort, kind regards Lynne Goddard.

Lynne Goddard

Well, what can I say about the amazing man who was Mr James Furlong. He taught me history during my sixth form years at The Holt School. He is the reason I went to university and studied history. Without him, I would not have got into university to study the subject I am truly passionate about. He never let me give up, even when I had given up on myself. I was really struggling to get decent grades on my history A Level work, and other teachers were unable to find the time to support me. However, Mr Furlong believed that I could, and would, improve and he was completely open and honest about my work, and was more than happy to dedicate his free time to support me. I am honoured to have been taught by him. He will never be forgotten. I am heartbroken and devastated by the loss of such a wonderful person, he had the kindest heart. I will never forget just how much he inspired me. I would not be where I am today...or currently walking the amazing path I am on...without him. He was a fantastic, brilliant, teacher and I know he will be missed. My thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues, and students at such a horrendous time.

Carly Eyre

Even though I didn’t know them I was and still am heartbroken at the totally senseless deaths of these 3 fantastic & talented people. My thoughts are with you all. Love from Leeds

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Mr Furlong was the greatest teacher ive ever had the pleasure of meeting. He has truly changed my future in more ways than one. I am taking history at university, credit to his passion for the subject. He was intelligent, caring about his students and made history fun for everyone. We will all never forget his anecdotes and catch phrases. I am so grateful for his help during my a levels. He will be so greatly missed.

Frankie Horn

As the proud father of a gay son and father in law to his husband, both of whom knew James, I would like to express my shock and sadness at his violent and tragic death. James was clearly a kind, sensitive and loving man , much cared for and appreciated by his local community . I am so sorry for his untimely and violent demise and send sincere condolences to his bereft partner, family, friends and all those who cherished him.

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You were always so fun and sarcastic. I could never tell if you were being serious but that just made it so much funnier. You had an unmatched passion for teaching.

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Rest in peace sir. Thank you for believing in me when no one else did, I always looked forward to your lessons and your quirky and unforgettable humour and comebacks. I feel like you had a real connection with each and every one of your students. The memories of you will always live on and i’m so grateful that i got to be taught by you for 5 years of my life.

Caitlin Fisher

I was James colleague at The Holt School from 2013-14. Although we hardly crossed paths due to teaching different subjects all I can say was that he was always friendly and kind to his colleagues and a dedicated teacher. Sad to hear this tragic news. My condolences to James family and friends.

Mr Siddiqui

So sad. Thoughts with family and friends. RIP.


So sad to hear the news about James. He was one of my PGCE mentors and I learnt so much from him. His approach to teaching history was refreshing and inspiring. The reaction of his students and colleagues, past and present, to this news speaks for itself as a testament to the kind of teacher and kind of person James was.

Kerrie Anne Bhatta (Sullivan)

Sending love and condolences to James Furlong's family and friends.

Peter Jones

I don't have a picture but I do have memories of James in primary school he was fun, gentle, intelligent such a lovely kind hearted lad. Even if you were sitting on your own he would still check to see if you were ok and if u wanted to join in. James your kindness has never been forgotten and never will. My heart breaks for your family and friends, thoughts and prayers are with them all. May your soul R.I.P 💔

Rebecca Boye-hlorkah

Once in Reading this community remains in your heart. I live in Italy but as a former Erasmus student at the local university have always considered Reading my second home. So I was completely shocked and devastated by the news of the terrorist attack on Forbury Gardens. All my thoughts are for the family of James Furlong and the other poor victims. Next time I'll go back to the city it will surely be an opportunity to bring a flower and pray in Forbury Gardens to remember the sacrifice of 'our' people. May they rest in peace.

Marco Ciampichetti

Reading is our hometown...even though ..We have moved away..Reading holds a special place in our hearts..We are so sad to hear what has happened at Forbury Gardens..We send our heartfelt sympathies to the people of Reading. the family's of the victims, their friends and loved ones... Rest In Peace x

Caroline Browne

As an ex-resident of Reading I was horrified to learn of this incident. I have a niece who attends the Holt School. My deepest sympathy goes out to James and his family and his pupils. He and the other victims are in my thoughts and prayers. Tim.

Timothy Harrington

Heartfelt Tribute to James Furlong. I am sorry that this happened. Warm wishes to you and your family . Love Paul Toovey

Paul B Toovey

So sad to hear a talent teacher lost in this incident. Rest in peace.

Manisha Lama

Rest Easy mate. Didn't deserve to die in such a horrendous way. God rest your gentle soul. May the hearts of your beautiful family be consoled.

Jerrie Sambers

A very sad and tragic event. It was a horrendous act and has taken some brilliant people from our community. My deepest condolences with family of Mr James Furlong. May he rest in peace.

Imran Tak

Was a blast talking to you about Rupauls Drag Race everytime a new season was out sir. May your heaven be filled with endless mirth.

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For all the good you gave to help and encourage our younger generation to grow, this as an ending with no justice, please know as a town we will stand together to get you the justice you deserve.thinking of your family and young

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So sorry this has happened James. You were a great friend and a lovely person. RIP mate.

Neil Jarvis

I know for a fact James wouldn’t want people pushing their agendas as a result of his death. James, a proud gay man, wanted equality for all, was at Reading pride year in year out and was a strong advocate for the BLM movement. It’s awful seeing tweets like this. Rest in peace James.

Hannah Snows

Amazing teacher and an even better person. Not everyone at holt was taught by Mr Furlong but everyone felt his warm presence. I’ll always remember him at the end of each lesson telling us to “not to something he wouldn’t do”. Maybe this is why so many of us are now kind and caring people. He wanted equality for all, regardless of race, sexuality, national origin or gender. He was passionate about history - never the type to just read off a PowerPoint. He was the person who’d dress up on open days, who’d talk in assemblies. But also the type we’d go to with concerns, whether they were about history exams or life. An amazing listener too. I can’t thank Mr Furlong enough for the few years I was taught by him. An amazing influence on our Wokingham community that will never be forgotten. I hope through these messages everyone sees how amazing he was. X

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You were and always will be a very special man. R.I.P James

Dene Tonna-Reynolds

I never met James, nor have I been to the Holt School in Wokingham. However, after reading all of the tributes to Mr Furlong online, I have decided to leave my own. He will be missed by his family, friends and his Holt colleagues and pupils. Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Michael Simpson

So very sorry.

Jacqueline McPherson

I’m beyond lost for words, one of the most caring teachers I had the pleasure of being taught by 💔 He always made sure everyone understood and always tried their best, always pushed them to do better and there was never a dull day when being taught by him or even bumping into him in the hallways, or when you were deciding whether to do history for your GCSE’s, there he was proud in some form of costume trying to entice you in😂❤️ he will forever be in our hearts and his memory and laughter will never be forgotten❤️ I’m sending huge amounts of love to his family and friends who have also been hurt with such news❤️

georgie wilson

Mr furlong was such a kind and caring teacher, he always made his pupils laugh and he definitely knew how to teach a lesson. He will be missed dearly.

Krystal Patey

So sorry for your loss x no one deserves to die this way x Condolences to the family and to all who knew him x 💕

Joanne Baker

Our love with family and friends on this such sad news, this horrible place needs a change and fast love with all who was injured and Witnessed this horrible horrible Incident

Lisa Brookfield-Steele

RIP thinking of u and your family xxxx

Kelly Winter

I am heartbroken. It’s so scary how you can be here one minute and the next you’re gone. Sir, you inspired so many of us to do our best and be proud of who we are. You had such a passion for you’re subject. You didn’t only positively impact me but everyone you taught. You’ll be missed so much ❤️

Liberty Fletcher

I didn’t know you, but am so sad at your senseless death. You sound like an amazing, inspirational teacher. RIP

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My thoughts and condolences go out to Mr Furlongs friends and family 💔 Words can not describe how shocked I am to have discovered one of my old favourite history teachers had been involved in this horrific incident. You were always so cheerful on the dullest of days and such an amazing teacher. In the two years you taught me you taught me to never give up and to always find passion in what you love. And your passion was history. May you rest in paradise 💔

Courtney Harris

Mr Furlong was an amazing man. Not only this but an inspirational, talented, dedicated, trustworthy and caring teacher. Having known him personally, lessons were always fun and enjoyable. All my heart goes out to all his friends, family, past students and current students❤️

Emily Fagan-Rapley

I was a student at The Holt from 2012-2017. Mr Furlong was a funny and kind teacher. As Head of History, and as my History teacher in Year 8, he always made History fun and entertaining. History was always one of my favourite subjects and Mr Furlong always encouraged it.

Jade Sirmon

He was an incredibly accepting man. He was open about his sexuality as a gay man and made it ok for more of us to be as well. He will be dearly missed.

contributed by community

Much saddened to hear the tragic loss of Mr Furlong and others due to a senseless killing spree by a psychopath. Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with victims and their families. Let's support each other in solidarity at this time of need

Mohamed Lukman Harees

So sorry your life was taken so soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends, and all the many lives you touched. May God grant you rest.

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