My junior faculty headteacher, Alan Harper, who has died aged 86 of vascular dementia, seldom forgot a pupil’s title, even many years after they left.
With Lancasterian County main faculty – affectionately dubbed “The Lancs” – 5 minutes from the River Severn, in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Alan took private accountability for guaranteeing that every one pupils realized to swim. He additionally excelled at instructing adults, which developed right into a teach-the-teacher position, and have become some of the certified learn-to-swim instructors within the UK.
Our college was subsequent to Shrewsbury jail, and as soon as the varsity had closed in 1988, Alan – Mr Harper to us – spent 10 years instructing inmates primary English and maths. Frequently encountering former pupils, or their mother and father, out and about, he all the time made time for a chat, enthusiastically recounting minute particulars of treasured school-day moments.
Alan was born in Poole, Dorset, to William Harper, a boilermaker, and Amy (nee Gordon), a cleaner. At Poole grammar faculty, he was a proficient sportsman, incongruously generally known as “Podge”. Later, he acquired one other ill-fitting nickname: “Hippy Harper” was what we referred to as him.
After working briefly as a bus conductor and a banker, in 1957 he skilled at Borough Street instructing faculty in Twickenham, beginning his schooling profession at Oakdale junior faculty in Poole, earlier than transferring in 1964 to Cherry Orchard main faculty in Lichfield, Staffordshire, as deputy head. In 1968, aged 32, he turned head of The Lancs.
He met Mikki Maal in 1957 at a dance at Christchurch hospital, Dorset, the place Mikki – initially from Holland – was a nurse, they usually married two years later.
All through his 20 years as head, Alan’s caring method inspired rather more than educational pursuits. Nation dancing, bold musical concert events, fancy costume events, Abba-themed assemblies, orienteering and journeys to Wales proceed to spark nice recollections for 3 generations of schoolchildren. We reminisce about his heat and equity, and the best way he labored to spice up our vanity and lust for all times, no matter our background.
With Mikki and their three sons, he explored Wales, France and Spain. He wished us to share a love of the nice open air and led many a college tenting journey.
Alan took up golf in his 40s. As a preferred member of Shrewsbury golf membership for 30 years, he proudly sported a “King Gap-in-One” tie for official faculty images after reaching no fewer than six. Relatively than solely concentrating on his sport he (usually) spent his spare time instructing fellow aspiring gamers.
Alan is survived by Mikki, their sons Paul, Ian and Gary, and 7 grandchildren.