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William 'Bill' Lucas, former headmaster of Dyson Perrins CE High School, Malvern, and deputy head of Bush Comprehensive School, Pembroke, West Wales, dies aged 79
Updated 4:35pm Tuesday 7th January 2014 in News
Bill Lucas, Headmaster of Dyson Perrins CE High School from 1977-93, has died peacefully at his home at the age of 79.
William John Lucas was born in North London early in 1934 and moved to Pinner two years later.
He was five when war broke out, and the disruption caused by the bombing meant that he didn’t go to school until he was seven.
Here he showed an aptitude for Latin and Greek which helped him to win a place at a local public school, Merchant Taylors’.
They emphasised the Classics, and on the strength of this, he won a place at Worcester College, Oxford.
This, however, was deferred due to National Service for which he was called up in July 1953 and sent to the Royal Army Service Corps in Aldershot.
After basic training, Bill was selected to learn Russian at the Joint Services Language School in Bodmin, Cornwall.
He secured a place on the small group to be trained as interpreters, and was sent to London University for a year.
Early in 1955 he was sent back to Bodmin to take the final examinations, and, while there, met Margaret, the girl whom he married three years later, in 1958.
Whilst at Oxford he experienced a "startling conversion" to Christianity as a result of hearing Billy Graham speak.
He remained a committed Christian, albeit not a regular church goer, for the rest of his life.
Bill graduated from Oxford in 1959 and secured an appointment as an assistant teacher of Classics at Tudor Grange, a Boys’ Grammar School in Solihull, then in Warwickshire, where his eldest daughter, Carol, was born.
The post was for only one year, so in 1960 he secured a permanent post at Ounsdale, a Comprehensive School in Wombourn, in Staffordshire, moving to a new house just over the border in the village of Claverley, in Shropshire, where three more of his children, Ian, Claire and Anna were born.
In 1968 he was granted a secondment for a year for an Advanced Diploma in Education Course - specialising in Comprehensive Education - at Exeter University.
On the strength of that, he was appointed Second Master at The Great Marlow School, in Buckinghamshire, and in 1970 moved to another village, Lane End near Marlow, where his youngest child, Nigel, was born.
In 1972, he was appointed deputy head of Bush Comprehensive School in Pembroke, West Wales, with the remit of turning a grammar school and a long-established secondary modern into a 1,500-plus comprehensive.
Then, in 1976, Bill was appointed head of the Dyson Perrins CE High School in Malvern, taking up the post in January 1977.
Due to his habit of always wearing his academic gown in school he was affectionately nicknamed "Batman".
During his time at Dyson Perrins he introduced changes that were to lead to the school becoming one of the most successful in the county, including streaming by subject and a leadership training scheme that represented a radical rethink of the prefect system found in most schools.
In 1993, after 16 years in post he had to take early retirement, due to ill health, at the age of 59.
In addition to his significant achievements in education, Bill also excelled in other fields.
He was an English and Welsh national table-tennis coach and umpire, and he played very successfully in local leagues up until his late seventies.
Throughout his life Bill also wrote poetry, amassing an impressive body of work that remained, nonetheless, very personal and private.
Acquaintances knew that they were accepted as friends if Bill offered to read them some of his poems and the beauty, power and humanity of his work never failed to resonate with his listeners.
William John Lucas is survived by his wife, Margaret, his children, Carol, Ian, Claire, Anna and Nigel and seven grandchildren.
William John Lucas, born February 2, 1934, died December 25, 2013
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