Education in mourning

A FORMER north Northumberland teacher who dedicated his life to education has died at the age of 97.

William Royce Ancrum, known as Roy, moved to Wooler in 1955 when he became deputy headteacher at the then Glendale County Secondary School, now Glendale Middle School.

Despite retiring from his post teaching English and organising school plays in 1974, he continued to be involved with the school for many years.

When he no longer taught, he ensured he was still responsible for the education of Glendale’s youngsters as one of the trustees of the educational fund which took his name, The Robson, Patterson and Ancrum Endowment Fund. Set up using a bequest from the school’s first headteacher, Aiden Robson, to this day the trust offers grants to former pupils to help with the cost of further education.

Mr Ancrum came from a poor background in Bristol as the eldest of six children.

He won a scholarship to the city’s Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital Bluecoat School before reading English and French at Bristol University.

According to his son Robin, Mr Ancrum felt that education had allowed him to escape his background and he wanted his pupils and those who take advantage of the trust to get the same chances.

Mr Ancrum began teaching after he graduated but the outbreak of the Second World War saw him called up to the Royal Army Medical Corps serving in the UK and India.

Towards the end of the war he was transferred to the Army Education Corps and was later demobbed at Hartford near Bedlington where he met his wife Helen. The couple married in 1947.

They moved to Wiltshire where they had three children, Judith, Dorothy and Robin, while Mr Ancrum returned to teaching, first in Bristol and then in Wiltshire.

In 1955 came the family moved to Wooler where Mr Ancrum lived for 56 years, getting involved with the University of the Third Age, Glendale Arts Club, Wooler Camera Club, and delivering meals on wheels.

Mr Ancrum, who passed away in hospital on Wednesday, December 7, is also survived by six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.