By Melissa Sheil
LA SALLE College staff, community and students of past and present are mourning the loss of a much-loved teacher.
Ben Reilly, who worked at La Salle for 10 years, passed away two weeks ago on March 11, following his 13-month long fight with motor neurone disease (MND).
He was 38 years old.
Tributes from ex-students, friends, colleagues and family flooded in across Facebook, noting how wonderful a mentor and person Mr Reilly had been, always greeting students with his signature “hey team”.
La Salle College staff and students wrote a message to honour their former colleague.
“Ben was a passionate educator and was dedicated to preparing and guiding Lasallian students, ensuring they got the best experience and the most out of themselves,” they wrote.
“He was an inspiration to everyone that knew him.
“While Ben’s death has left a sizeable hole in our College community, his memory will continue to inspire us to maintain our faith, hope, and love.”
No words were more heartfelt than those of his wife Emma, who posted a touching tribute to her husband on Facebook, writing she was grateful for the life they could build together.
“I am so grateful that I found you,” she wrote.
“There is going to be a huge hole in my heart for a long time as I grieve and try to figure out this single parenting thing.
“I know you’ll be looking down on us, cheering us on in whatever we do, telling me ‘you’ve got this’.
“Thank you for loving me unconditionally, for being a great provider, the best dad ever, for making me laugh, teaching me so much and sharing your life with me – I am eternally grateful.
“This is not a goodbye, but a see you soon.”
Though forced into an early retirement due to his diagnosis in early 2020, Mr Reilly proved you can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the classroom out of the teacher, continuing to educate about the realities of living with MND via his YouTube and Facebook pages ‘Team Reilly vs MND’.
A memorial for Ben Reilly will take place at Riverview Church on Monday, March 29 at 1pm.