Tributes paid to former Cavendish teacher after death in France

Terry Wisson
Terry Wisson

Tributes have been paid to former Eastbourne teacher Terry Wisson who died in France last month.

Mr Wisson, 65, had been living in Carcasonne in south west France with his wife Lesley, also a former teacher, since 2008.

He had undergone an operation to remove a bowel obstruction on June 21 in France but surgeons discovered peritonitis and perforated intestines and he died without regaining consciousness two days later.

He leaves his wife Lesley, daughters Collette and Hannah and son Daniel, and his 87-year-old mother Hilda. A service of remembrance is expected to be held in October in Polegate.

Speaking from her home in France, Mrs Wisson said, “He meant so much, to so many people, in so many ways. I want him remembered for the good and kind man he was; someone who would do anything for anyone. He was an excellent teacher, a perfect husband, a wonderful father and a good friend. I miss him every moment of every day.”

Mr Wisson was born an only child in 1947 in Bedford where he went to school and later trained as a teacher.

His first teaching post was in Bedford but he moved to Eastbourne to take up a position of head of maths at Cavendish Secondary Modern School in September 1975, when it was in Melbourne Road and where he met Lesley.

He continued teaching at Cavendish through its transition to a comprehensive and changed roles taking on computers, information technology and business studies and was also a maths examiner and keen on woodwork.

He retired early in 2003 and worked as an office manager for PJ Skips in Polegate, where he, Lesley and their young family had moved to in 1987. As a member of the community in Polegate he was on the carnival committee, the playscheme committee and was also chairman of the Polegate Scouts.

Lesley said, “In each role he undertook it was with huge enthusiasm and drive. There were no half measures with Terry.

“In 2003 we had a serious road accident in Italy where Terry nearly died. He returned to England after nearly a month in hospital in Italy, minus his spleen, to continued hospital treatment and eventually to recuperate and continue working. It was at this time we decide to live the dream instead of just wishing for it and bought ourselves a little house here in Carcassonne.

“When I became eligible to retire from teaching in 2008 we moved to France permanently, where we have been extremely happy except for the death of our eldest son in another traffic accident on his way to stay with us that first Christmas.

“We had both begun to make a new life for ourselves here and although Terry’s lack of French was a bit of a hindrance he loved the slower pace of life and the opportunity to continue one of his greatest passions, researching family history.

“About three years ago his health began deteriorating. He was operated on on June 21 but he died without regaining consciousness. I was with him, holding his hand.

“He was cremated here in France but I am planning to bring his ashes back to England for his friends and family there to get a chance to say goodbye. I am trying to arrange a service of remembrance at St John’s Church in Polegate and would like to invite anyone who knew Terry and would like to sign a book of remembrance to come.”