Warm tributes paid to former Eastbourne headmaster

Former Eastbourne headmaster John Morris
Former Eastbourne headmaster John Morris

Warm tributes have been paid to former Eastbourne Grammar School headmaster John Morris who died last month at the age of 85.

Mr Morris was also the principal of Eastbourne Sixth Form College, a popular leading educationalist for more than 20 years and a Methodist preacher.

His family, widow Maria, daughters Jennie and Carol and sons Chris and Michael this week described him as a much loved man who was deeply proud of his family.

Mr Morris’ funeral was held at the Central Methodist Church in Pevensey Road and conducted by Reverend Paul Tabraham.

Mr Morris was born in Edenbridge and followed both his parents into the teaching profession after attending Christ’s Hospital and studying French and German at Oxford. He spent time in Frankfurt where he met his wife Maria and the couple married in 1954.

The family moved to the town when Mr Morris was appointed headmaster of Eastbourne Grammar School for Boys in 1973 which then became Eastbourne Grammar and High School before becoming Eastbourne Sixth Form College of which he was principal until retirement in 1993.

Reverend Tabraham said it was clear Mr Morris was deeply proud of his family.

He added, “As well as teaching, John was accredited as a local preacher in 1961 and always took great care and preparation in his services.

“A feature of many of my visits to John has been to discuss a reading or something theological which he wanted bring up. John’s faith was in abundance; his hope in his optimism and encouragement as a preacher and teacher.”

Former pupil Andrew Somerville also paid tribute to his former headteacher calling him innovative.

“I remember him sweeping out of morning assemblies in a black academic gown, tall, thin, bespectacled, a benevolent smile interrupting his stern gaze, a distant figure punctuating my ordered daily school life,” he said.

“He was innovative, dropping afternoon register calling before going home and the rule to change in to gymshoes indoors. From September 1977 he managed staff and building alterations across the two sites, the amalgamated boys’ grammar and girls’ high schools and introduced the first mixed lower sixth year.”

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