Donald Feltwell: Taught for four decades at a Norfolk school at Feltwell

To generations of children, Donald Feltwell was the aptly-named 'Mr Feltwell'.

He taught at Feltwell Primary School for more than 35 years, including 20 years as head, during which time some of his star pupils included weather forecaster Jim Bacon and two members of the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest-winning band, Katrina and the Waves.

Another was triathlete Chrissie Wellington, a triple world Ironman champion.

Mr Feltwell, who has died suddenly aged 79 at his west Norfolk home, was an inspirational teacher and keen sportsman whose vocal support for school teams was always louder than visiting teachers. Academically, he took great pride in getting large numbers of his pupils through the 11-plus exam.

Born at nearby Southery, the son of a farm worker and primary school teacher, he was educated at Downham Market Grammar School.

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Mr Feltwell did his national service as a wireless operator in the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment, serving during the Suez crisis. Recently he was presented with his campaign medal.

In due course he went to Borough Road Training College, part of the University of London, to train as a teacher.

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Mr Feltwell was always a keen sportsman: he played football for Feltwell and also for Downham Town and Southery and continued playing into his late 40s.

After moving to Feltwell in 1957, he became involved with community activities. In 1969, when he became the school headmaster, he was chairman of the parish council and the playing field committee, and he was vice-chairman of the local historical and archaeological society.

Mr Feltwell helped to obtain funding for the school's heated indoor swimming pool, which was used also by villagers at evening swimming club sessions.

An active member of the National Union of Teachers, Mr Feltwell was a president of the local, Downham Market, branch and attended many national conferences.

He retired at 60 to look after his wife, Rita, who had Parkinson's disease, and to live near her mother, Dorothy Hales, at West Winch.

Mr Feltwell became a keen member of West Winch Bowls Club, where he was appointed chairman and also president. Much to his amusement, he often played opponents whom he had met half a century earlier on the football field.

A member of the local Association of Retired Persons group, he attended many national conferences.

After his wife died in 2000, he looked after his mother-in-law for about three years.

He leaves two sons, Stephen, who is a GP at Felixstowe, and John, as well as three grandchildren.

A funeral service will take place on Wednesday at Mintlyn Crematorium, King's Lynn, at 2pm.

Michael Pollitt

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