Sadness at death of Mr Griffiths, a ‘true gentleman’

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A TEACHER affectionately known for schooling several 
generations of pupils in Long Lawford has died aged 84.

Derrick Griffiths was headmaster of Long Lawford Primary School for some 20 years, and by the end of his career was teaching the grandchildren of some of his first students. Mr Griffiths was one of the most well-known and popular villagers in Long Lawford, having also been church warden and chair of Long Lawford’s charities.

He was born in Christleton, near Chester, on February 14 1928. He went to Durham University before being called up for National Service in 1947 to work in the Education Corps, teaching many illiterate soldiers how to read and write. He met his wife, Joan, in 1943 when he was 15 while the couple were being taught how to ring church bells by their fathers. They married on August 12 1950. A few years later, when he was 29, he became the youngest headteacher in Cheshire. Six years later, in 1963, Derrick and Joan moved to Long Lawford and Derrick become head teacher at the village school. He and Joan had four children, Janys, Andrew, Vivien and Stephen.

His wife Joan said: “I’ve had lots of sympathetic cards from everyone who knew Derrick. He was very popular and lots of people in the village and in Rugby will miss him. He was a very fair man and was always happy to give advice and help to anyone who asked.”

Keith Judge, a friend who often did odd jobs for Derrick at Long Lawford school, said: “He was a mentor to many including myself, instructing me on the joys of metrification in 1970. He is what can only be described as a true gentleman. He was always active in the life of the village and was always available with some sensible advice.

“He will be sorely missed by the people of this village and I guarantee St Botolph’s will be overflowing with people on the day of his funeral.”

Derrick was diagnosed with cancer of the lung in October last year. His condition deteriorated this summer and he died of pneumonia on September 6. His funeral will take place at St Botolph’s in Newbold on Monday September 24 at 2pm.

Joan added: “As so many cards have said, he will be remembered as one of life’s true gentlemen.”