Family pay tribute to much loved father and former Lowestoft teacher

Derrick Oakford taught at Roman Hill Junior School on Avondale Road for 20 years and left to become

Derrick Oakford taught at Roman Hill Junior School on Avondale Road for 20 years and left to become deputy headteacher of St Benet’s Roman Catholic School, Beccles, in 1966 before retiring in 1982. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Supplied

A family has paid tribute to a much-loved teacher, who had a career spanning nearly 40 years, who has died at the age of 96.

Derrick Albert Oakford taught at Roman Hill Junior School on Avondale Road for 20 years and left to become deputy headteacher of St Benet's Roman Catholic School, Beccles, in 1966 before his retirement in 1982.

He was born on April 8, 1919 at Kings Lynn, Norfolk. His family moved to Lowestoft when he was three and lived at Catherine Terrace, Pakefield, in what his family described as very primitive conditions.

His family said he was a dedicated teacher and a very loving family man; family meant everything to him.

On behalf of the family, his daughter, Katina Chapman, said: 'Dad was a much loved father, grandfather, great grandfather and teacher and he will be missed greatly.

'He was always interested in children and very concerned for their education and welfare, so it was very fitting that he should become a teacher.

'He loved travelling and enjoyed family gatherings such as the annual family holiday and seeing everyone at Christmas.'

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Mr Oakford died on December 27th, 2015.

Background:

Mr Oakford attended Pakefield Area School, where he was head boy before he left school at the age of 14.

He was then a projectionist at the Marina Theatre for two years, until he joined Sainsbury's in London.

At the age of 20, Mr Oakford was among the first conscripts to be called up in 1939 and he served for nearly seven years with the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Most of his war service was spent overseas working on troopships in the Battle of the North Atlantic, and as far away as India and South Africa.

After demobilisation he trained as a teacher in Hertfordshire.

Mr Oakford married Christine Margaret Southgate on August 4, 1951.

They lived at St Aubyn's Road, where they raised their family of two sons, Roderick (63) and Howerd (61), and four daughters, Margaret (58), Julie (57), Sally (48) and Katina-Jane (45) and had 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Shortly after his retirement, his wife, Christine, also a teacher, died tragically as a result of a road accident.

This left Mr Oakford with the job of providing for and looking after two young daughters who were still at school.

For many years Derrick Oakford was a member of the South Lowestoft Methodist Church where he served as the guild secretary.