Tributes paid to respected teacher

TRIBUTES have been paid to a highly respected teacher from Ponteland following his death.

Don Walker died on May 29 at home after a long illness, at the age of 94.

He spent his entire teaching career at Dame Allan’s Boys School in Newcastle.

Mr Walker graduated from St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, in 1939 and almost immediately joined the Army, serving until demobilisation in 1946.

He began teaching geography at the school in that year and continued to do so until his retirement in 1978. For the last seven years of his career he was also Deputy Headmaster.

During his many years of teaching, Mr Walker wrote two books on his specialist subject — A Geography of Italy and The Mediterranean Lands, both published by Methuen.

His impact on countless generations of boys at the school has been enormous and the words of an eminent former pupil and Professor at King’s College London, J A Allan, encapsulates their thoughts and gratitude.

“Don Walker was an exceptional educator who inspired generations at Dame Allan’s,” he said.

“He put in place the intellectual foundations of myself and countless others so that we could cope with very diverse professional careers. Above all he installed a moral compass in each of us that has served us very well indeed.”

A total of 65 of his pupils went on to study geography at university, 11 of whom later taught at university level.

Mr Walker is survived by his second wife, Maria, who he married in 1982 after the death of his first wife, and her two sons from her first marriage, both former pupils at Dame Allan’s School.

A thanksgiving service for his life took place at Ponteland United Reformed Church on June 7, where he had been a member for many years.

Beside the family, the service was attended by members of the church, friends and numerous former colleagues and pupils of Dame Allan’s, one of whom gave the eulogy.