Wigan high school to hold service in memory of former headteacher

A Wigan high school will pay tribute to a former headteacher tomorrow with a heartwarming service in his memory.

Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 11:40 am
Mr Williams was headteacher at The Deanery from 1987 to 1997

Pupils, current and ex-staff at The Deanery will come together on Thursday afternoon to remember Richard Williams, who died in April aged 76 following a short battle with cancer.

Known to most as Dick, Mr Williams was head at the Frog Lane school between 1987 and 1997. He also had spells at Wigan and Leigh College and as the head of Hesketh Fletcher in Atherton, before retiring to Brecon to run a smallholding.

He was buried in the small parish of Talachddu in Wales, meaning that unfortunately a lot of ex-staff and pupils were unable to say their final goodbyes.

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So the school has decided to offer everyone the chance to pay their respects with a memorial service at Wigan Parish Church at 2pm tomorrow.

The school will be following a service that Mr Williams organised himself before his death, with poems and hymns all specifically chosen by him.

Former staff and pupils and the school’s new headteacher Mr Martin Wood, who was a Deanery pupil himself when Mr Williams was headteacher, will be conducting the readings and poems.

And ahead of the service, he paid tribute to his former head, saying: “I have very fond memories of Mr Williams, who was headteacher when I was a pupil at The Deanery in the late 1980s.

“I remember his genuine care for pupils and his inspirational Christian leadership of the school. He was a much loved and highly respected Headteacher.”

Family, friends and ex-pupils also issued heartfelt tributes to Mr Williams after his death.

His son Denzel said: “My father cared deeply about all of the students in the schools in which he taught and was proud of all of their achievements.

“He was laid to rest in April in Talachddu Parish Church but there is a part of my father that will always be in Wigan.”

A former pupil Alison Hardman said: “Mr Williams taught me biology when he was just a teacher. He was a lovely gentleman who was so supportive and encouraging towards his pupils.”

“I was only recently wondering what Mr Williams is up to now.

“He was a brilliant headmaster throughout my time at the Deanery in the late 80s/early 90s,” said Gillie Parsonage.

Sarah Gallagher said Mr Williams was “such an amazing man and more than a head teacher to me.”

“In 1991 at the age of 11 I went on an exchange visit to the Ukraine for two weeks,” she said.

“Mr Williams treated me as if I was one of his own and helped keep my homesickness at bay and I have never forgot that. I hope he knew how many pupils looked up to and respected him.”

Peter Walker said: “Dick Williams was my biology teacher, my mentor and my friend. I owe him more than I could ever repay. His charisma, patience and humour endeared him to many pupils and teachers alike.”

And Janet Heaton said: “He was my favourite teacher at school. Loved his lessons, he encouraged me to go in to nursing!”

The memorial service will take place at Wigan Parish Church from 2pm tomorrow, Thursday. All are welcome to attend.