Popular former head teacher dies aged 90

A DEDICATED former headmaster of a St Leonards primary school has died at the age of 90.

John Frederick Garton, the youngest of three children, was born in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire in 1923.

He moved to Hastings in the 1973 to take up the position of headteacher at West St Leonards Primary and Infant School.

When the former teacher first left school, he began a career in banking but was soon called up to join the Royal Air Force because of the Second World War.

John then had a long and distinguished career as a teacher and a headmaster and when he was 32 he was appointed his first headteacher position at the Twyford School, Berkshire.

A keen teacher who loved his job, John trained in Isleworth and later became a deputy head in Bath.

He then settled in Westonsuper-Mare before moving to St Leonards for 20 years and then to the West Country.

John was also renowned for establishing the Initial Teaching Alphabet as a way of helping infant/junior classes to read more easily, and it was this that led him to St Leonards where he was head for 10 years.

Popular with staff, John is remembered as an excellent headteacher.

Louise Spice, a retired teacher who worked with John at West St Leonards School said: “He was very well respected not only by staff but also by the parents. It was a happy school and a very happy team under his leadership.”

Another colleague, Barbara Rogers, said: “The staff worked well together under him. He was a very good head, always willing to listen.”

Fluent in French and passionate about language, John left his legacy at the school by setting up a unit for English as a second language.

John was also the beloved husband of Elisabeth whom he met when he was stationed in Hereford during the war.

The couple married a few years later, bringing up three children together. He died in Taunton and his funeral took place last Friday (March 14).