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Headmaster and Rotary president

Date: Tuesday 29th December 2015
Peter Davy
Peter Davy

POPULAR Hartley resident Peter Davy, a past president of Upper Eden Rotary Club and the first headmaster of Kirkbie Kendal School, has died, aged 84. Born into a Yorkshire woollen industry family, Peter, of Harcla Wath, near Kirkby Stephen, spent his early childhood days on the edge of Ilkley Moor.

In 1940, he was sent to Woodhouse Grove School, leaving in 1950 as head boy and captain of the school’s cricket and rugby teams. These sports remained a passion and he played rugby for Ilkley and Headingley until a knee injury stopped him, but continued playing cricket for many years — for Addingham, the Royal Army Education Corps, Cheltenham, and finally, for Hawes.

Peter qualified as a silversmith in 1954 before taking his teaching degree at Manchester University. As a student he met his wife-to-be, Elizabeth, who hails from Sowerby Bridge, and the pair married in 1958.

Peter completed his national service, in 1955 joining the Duke of York’s regiment. After basic training he was transferred to the Royal Army Education Corps, promoted to sergeant, and helped start an education centre at Sennelager, Germany. Earlier this year, Peter was thrilled to be invited by the Army to be a guest at the valedictory dinner at Hohne to mark the closing of the service in other camps with the withdrawal of British personnel from Germany. The only remaining education unit now is the one Peter helped to start 60 years ago.

Peter came out of the Army in 1957 and after marrying Elizabeth, who had been teaching at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, the couple moved to Cheltenham where Peter had begun his teaching career.

Following the birth of their son, Matthew, who now lives in Kirkby Stephen, the family moved to Yorkshire where Peter took up a post at the new Wensleydale School, Leyburn. He became deputy head of the Wensleydale School in 1971.

Following the death of the serving headmaster, Peter took over as the acting head. In 1974, he was appointed headmaster of Longlands Boys School in Kendal. Then, in 1979, he was appointed as the headmaster to bring together Kendal Boys Grammar School and Kendal Girls High School which became Kirkbie Kendal.

In 1986, a year after suffering a heart attack, he was forced to take early retirement due to ill health, but was appointed as an education consultant by the Cumbria education committee and introduced a teacher appraisal program into the county, which, as a result of his pioneering work, became the basis for national practice.

Following Peter’s retirement the couple relocated to Eden and lived at Winton Hall before moving to Harcla Wath, in Hartley, nine years ago. Having been a member, and serving as president of Kendal Rotary Club, he joined Upper Eden Rotary Club, after moving to the area, and also served as its president. He remained devoted to Kendal Rugby Club, of which he was made a life member — and wrote a weekly “view from the styx” for the club’s matchday program. He was also made a life member of the Wensleydale Rugby Club.

As well as taking a keen interest in the world of art and architecture, he also latterly enjoyed making miniature furniture. Peter will be remembered as a man with a great sense of humour, who enjoyed life enormously. He was a very outgoing and enthusiastic person who always looked on the bright side of things.

He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, son, Matthew, and grandchildren Hannah Sharland and Joe, who is in the Army.


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