Past pupils pay tribute to former headteacher Doug

Doug Borthwick
Doug Borthwick

Past pupils of a well-loved teacher who has died after a brief illness have been comforting his family.

Doug Borthwick, 70, retired five years ago as headteacher of St John’s RC First School at Alnwick, where he ran a happy school for 20 years.

He died in Wansbeck Hospital surrounded by his family after suffering a lung disease.

Fr Des McGivern told the congregation at his funeral service in St Paul’s at Alnwick: “The whole of his life he was an honourable man.”

He had always had a profound influence on others, especially the young people in the schools where he worked in Britain and in Africa.

He might have gone back to Zambia, but met his future wife Anne. For the past 26 years they have lived at Swarland, where they raised sons Joseph, Matthew and Paul.

Fr McGivern said: “He generously gave four years of his professional life helping the children of Zambia and he enjoyed that experience. He was happiest when surrounded by hordes of children.”

He was noted for integrity, patience, wit and humour. He was very proud of his sons.

After teacher training, he worked in his home town of Corby, where he met Anne. But fate intervened, she went to college in Newcastle, he returned to college in Manchester and then went to Lusaka. “We didn’t start going out until he came back from Africa,” she said.

They were married on March 31, 1975. He became a deputy head in Corby and applied for the headship at St John’s. Anne taught at St Paul’s First School in Cramlington.

Mrs Borthwick said the family had been moved by the kindness of friends and past pupils. She thanked everyone for sharing memories with them, and the hospital staff for their dedication and compassion.