Tree planted for teacher who inspired so many students

Peter Wasley
Peter Wasley
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Staff and students, governors and friends of Spalding Grammar School gathered in the hall on Wednesday to remember Peter Wasley’s 33 years’ service.

Peter joined the school as a young teacher of French and German in September 1978, and remained at the school throughout his professional career, rising to deputy head.

The tree planted in Peter Wasley's memory.

The tree planted in Peter Wasley's memory.

Former colleagues commemorated his outstanding skills as a teacher where he prepared students to achieve excellent results and inspired them to explore, and grow to love, foreign cultures.

He passionately believed that students should travel and genuinely experience life in France and Germany through residential visits in Annecy and work experience placements.

Mme Laurence Gamble read Jacques Prévert’s poem: ‘Pour faire le portrait d’un oiseau’ as testimony to Peter’s linguistic skills.

Peter was a hugely accomplished man. He studied music and was a brilliant violinist; he played the first movement of Vivialdi’s ‘Spring’ from the Four Seasons in his final school summer concert, a piece Roger Loose played in this commemoration to echo Peter’s musical skill.

Two previous headmasters contributed to the commemoration.

Nigel Ryan reminded the audience of Peter’s lasting contribution to the school through the curriculum and the buildings, a tribute affirmed and extended by Michael Stewart who commented that Peter “took the school forward with giant strides in the realms of technology, educational thinking and curriculum development”.

Although the commemoration was deeply sad, there were moments of humour too: Kevin Arnold gave a very personal reflection on the impact of Peter as teacher and later colleague then, after an introduction by John Charlesworth, current staff and students sang ‘Ethelred Radio’, a revue number closely associated with Peter.

After the commemoration, current headmaster Steven Wilkinson and Dr Peter Gorton led Catherine Wasley, Steven Wasley and all guests to the business block garden for the dedication of a magnolia tree in Peter’s memory.

The last word should go to Peter’s first headmaster, John Fordham, who eloquently summed up Peter’s service to the school as “an excellent man to have on the staff”.

• Headmaster Mr Wilkinson has also paid tribute to a school governor who has passed away.

He said: “The school was saddened to hear of the death of Dr Michael Townsend. Michael has been a governor since 1979 and was chairman for 14 years between 1991 and 2005.

“He has given a huge amount to the school and, on a personal level, has been supportivemy first year as headmaster. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.”