Tributes paid to former headteacher at Standish High School

Tributes have been paid to the former head of Standish High School, who died at the age of 81.

Friday, 4th September 2020, 2:29 pm
Updated Friday, 4th September 2020, 2:34 pm
Martin Butler pictured in the early 1980s

Martin Butler was highly respected during his time at the school, becoming founding principle when the school first opened in 1978.

Helping to create a school which has served the children of Standish for more than 40 years, Martin was headteacher of the school until around 1984 when he was promoted to become R.E Advisor for Wigan Council.

He was also a volunteer guide at Rufford Old Hall where his enthusiasm and knowledge is said to have “shone through.”

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One old colleague paying him respects was Geoff Ashton, who retired as a headteacher of the school in 2005 after 21 years.

He served as deputy head to Martin between 1981 and 1984 before taking on the headteacher role.

Describing Martin as the “finest teacher he had ever met” and a “remarkable man”, he said: “Martin could teach anything, he was an R.E teacher but he could teach English, maths, French and science. He really was remarkable.

“Whenever he used to teach and I visited his classroom to get information, the children would take no notice of me at all as they were fixated by him.

“He would have been appointed as the founding principal in 1977 before the school opening and he was there for about six years before getting a promotion as R.E advisor for Wigan Council.

“I was his deputy for three years between 1981 and 1984 before then getting the job as head.

“I believe that Martin was also a deputy head at a school in Chorley or Leyland before that.”

Geoff went on to describe Martin as a “character who was extremely honest and a strong Christian.”

He added: “He was full of life and full of enthusiasm and had lots of interests and hobbies.”

And the current headteacher of Standish High School Lindsay Barker also praised Martin as a “lovely, caring, intelligent and kind gentleman.”

In a moving tribute, she said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Elizabeth and family at this very sad and difficult time.

“Martin was a lovely, caring, intelligent and kind gentleman.

“May the wonderful memories of his warm personality and contributions to education be celebrated by all.

“With deepest sympathy from all the staff and students at Standish Community High School.”

Tributes also poured in from past pupils and people who knew Martin on Facebook.

One past pupil who preferred not to be named said: “Mr Butler was someone who kept all the children (and probably the teachers) in line, but he always seemed to have a smile on his face. It must have been a very hard task to open a new school and integrate pupils from many different schools.

“If a school is fashioned by its leader, Mr Butler certainly did a great job and helped to create a school which has served the children of Standish well for more than 40 years.

“I bumped into Mr Butler several years ago. He was a volunteer guide at Rufford Old Hall and his enthusiasm and knowledge shone through. Condolences to his family and friends at this time.”

Stan Aspinall said: “He was a gifted teacher.

“I remember going into one of his drama lessons and being amazed at the total involvement of all pupils in the lesson.

“Equal amazement when he led his group of Roman legionnaires up Church Street in a carnival procession sometime in the early 80s.

“So sad to learn of Martin’s death.

“He will be remembered by many with fond memories.”

Another ex-pupil Anne Holden added: “RIP Mr Butler.

“He taught me R.E and he was a lovely man.”

Described as a “beloved husband” and “dearly loved father on an obituary page by his family, he leaves behind wife Elspeth and children Ros and Richard.

His funeral took place at St Laurence’s Parish Church, Chorley on Thursday (August 27) followed by committal at Charnock Richard Crematorium.