Long serving and popular Lancaster Royal Grammar School teacher dies, aged 80

John Lea.
John Lea.

A former teacher at Lancaster Royal Grammar School and a prominent member of Lancaster Footlights has died at the age of 80.

Born in Devon, John Lea grew up in Sussex and was educated at Worthing High School and, after National Service in the Royal Corps of Signals, read history at Exeter College, Oxford.

Here he rowed in the College VIII, and took a postgraduate Diploma in Education.

Appointed to the History Department at LRGS in 1960, he became Head of History in 1964.

Mr Lea was an inspiring teacher, and was active in many fields of extra-curricular activities, editing the school magazine and running the history societies, the Chess Club and the Stamp Club.

In particular, he coached rowing for more than 30 years, running the Boat Club during a formative period: He would have been delighted to hear of the Olympic gold medal won by former pupil Scott Durant in the Men’s VIII at Rio.

Mr Lea became Third Master in 1988 and Second Master in 1991, retiring in 1996.

In his final term he achieved high praise from the Ofsted inspectors, with two grades of Excellent and two of Very Good in the four lessons observed.

A few years later the Old Lancastrian Club elected him its president.

Mr Lea played a wide variety of parts in productions of the Footlights, his most prominent being the name-parts in Tartuffe and The Madness of George III, and the part of Salieri in Amadeus.

He was also a successful member of Lancaster Bridge Club.

His funeral, at Christ Church, Lancaster, where he had for some years been churchwarden, was conducted by Rev Brenda Harding, an old friend, and readings and valedictions were given by former colleagues.

The service was attended by a large number of friends and former pupils.

Mr Lea’s wife Anthea had predeceased him, and he leaves a daughter, Julia, a son, Richard, and two granddaughters, Scarlet and Abigail.