Founder member of Harris School dies

Charles McLeod
Charles McLeod

A founder member of staff at Harris School has died after a short illness at the age of 99.

Charles McLeod, a popular teacher and deputy head for 18 years, started work at the school, in Harris Drive, in May 1954, retiring 24 years later.

Mr McLeod was one of only three teachers initially appointed who, together with headmaster Cyril Wellington, greeted the 75 boys who started in the unfinished school building in September 1954.

In March last year Mr McLeod was a special guest at the school’s celebration event as it became Harris Church of England Academy, part of the Diocese of Coventry Multi-Academy Trust.

His contribution to the school was marked during the ceremony and photographs he had taken of the school and its history were on display.

In his memoirs Mr McLeod reflected on how he and Cyril Wellington designed the striking and colourful school badge, chose the motto and established the school ethos. He wrote: “At Harris we aimed to dismiss from the minds of every child and of his or her parents the idea that not to reach a grammar school meant that you were a failure.

“We tried to make them feel like members of a ‘big happy family’ where there was plenty of understanding, sympathy and affection. A tough approach to study and discipline came later.”

During his time at the school, Mr McLeod helped raise thousands of pounds to fund numerous school building extensions and a swimming pool.

As head of English, he set up the new school library and his interest in literature and drama saw him write and produce many school plays over the years.

Mr McLeod went to the Percival Guildhouse in 1947, where he met his late wife, Bertha, to whom he was married for 48 years.

He spent the last three years of his life at Abbeyfields Jim Gillespie House in Dunchurch Road.

Mr McLeod leaves three children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.