We recently received this letter from an ex pupil, it sheds a fascinating insight into the history of the school and how Mr Jones made a lasting impact on this pupil…
Dear Mr Sainter,
I was a pupil at Wawne County primary during the mid-late1950’s. Educated initially by the very formidable Mrs Downing – before the reformative Mr Howell Clayton Jones arrived into our midst.
I left the village for college in York in my late teens – and then moved away enjoying a wonderfully rich & largely successful career. In doing so I left behind many happy childhood memories – almost all of them remarkable – especially so by today’s standards!
I moved to the delightful village of Terling in rural Essex almost twenty years ago. Having a science degree, you will almost certainly know the noble gas Argon was discovered here by 3rd Baron Lord Rayleigh – not to mention “Rayleigh Scatter”!, However….!
By dint of remarkable coincidence, I very soon discovered that a near neighbour was to be my ex Head from my alma mater Wawne. Mr Howell C Jones. I first re-acquainted with him in a local Pub within days of moving here after a gap of almost 40 years. Even so after a few minutes I managed to place him in the chronological kaleiescope of my life. What a moment!. He exclaimed when I told him who I was “Good God boy, I was only talking about you the other day”
In his retirement he become a self taught and proficiently modest artist, In fact encouraged him to paint the Wawne Ferry – from an old family photograph. My aunt Liza actually operated it for some years from their farm on the Thearne bank – which seems and is eons ago
Unfortunately, Howell moved away three or four years ago to the Bedfordshire village of Blunham. Sadly earlier this year (5 July) Howell (still a Mr Jones to me) passed away. Fortunately I learnt of his death & was able to attend his funeral as Wawne School’s sole & honary representative!!
You may or may not be aware of Howell’s passing, but I feel it should be noted. He was a unique teacher- an inspirational man. Not a perfect human being by any means, but few of us are. He was also as you may know, mentioned in complimentary terms in the Plowden Report.
Few nine year olds can claim to have excavated a 16C village buried in a field that’s now occupied by a public house – but there are several, I am sure, still living in and around the village that can!
Perhaps, if you feel it’s appropriate, you could during a forthcoming school assembly, you could commemorate Howell – and thank him for his contribution as a teacher & educator.
Paul Harrison (christened & known in Wawne as Nigel)