The death has occurred of former long-serving Lazonby Primary School headmaster Rod Rogers, of Bedlington, Northumberland, aged 73.
Much loved by the school’s pupils, their parents and staff, he was headmaster in Lazonby for almost 30 years until 2008, when he took up an appointment with Northumberland County Council promoting competitive sporting activities.
Born in Leeds, he trained as a teacher at C. F. Mott College, Prescott, Liverpool, from 1967-70.
His first teaching appointment was at a preparatory school in Derbyshire for a year.
He came to Cumbria in 1971 to teach at Brampton Junior School, where he remained for four years before being appointed deputy head at Houghton School, Carlisle, in 1975. He left Houghton to take up his post at Lazonby in 1979.
He had a particular interest in sport for children, particularly those with disabilities, and helped to run a sports club at Penrith Leisure Centre for secondary school pupils with disabilities.
Having been a good amateur runner in his younger days, he coached disabled athletes for regional and national events.
Rod saw many changes at Lazonby School over the years. In his time, the school received more than £700,000 for investment in buildings and equipment.
Among these developments were a new school hall, staff room, library and the complete refurbishment of boys’ and girls’ toilets.
It was for his cheerful, friendly and supportive nature that he was best known, however, with many of the older pupils at the school shedding tears when they learned he was leaving.
Former Lazonby School governor Steve Hather said: “He was a very special person who had an uncanny knack of getting people on board and doing what was best for school.
“He would have made a great politician, but thankfully he became a headteacher and used his special talents of listening, getting people on side and loving all his school children like his own.
“Whilst visiting school over many years and seeing pupils come and go it was evident they all loved him and at the same time respected him.
“Second only to the children were his staff. He would always be there when needed, back them to hilt and encourage them, and would always spot and use the talents they had to better the school.”
He added: “His achievements at a small village school and getting people to help him help his kids were massive.
“Many Lazonby pupils represented the county in many areas of sport, which for a small school was amazing.
“He and his staff produced good, rounded children with a good outlook in general — again something to be proud of.”
Out of school, Rod was a keen sportsman and a qualified cricket coach.
He coached at Staffield and Nunwick cricket clubs, undertook advisory work for the Eden Valley School and Sport Partnership and coached under-12 and under-14 cricket teams for the Eden District Cricket Development Group.
In his later years, he put in countless hours as a member of the management committee of Morpeth Cricket, Hockey and Tennis Club.
He was chairman of the cricket club, and continued to carry out coaching duties.
He is survived by his wife Joyce and son Jonathan, Carlisle.