Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Obituary - Meyrick Rowlands 1952-2012: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Obituary - Meyrick Rowlands 1952-2012: News

Article excerpt

Meyrick Rowlands was, people said, nothing but a big child at heart. This was what made him so successful, both as a headteacher and as a practical joker.

He was born in Pembrokeshire in June 1952. Both his parents played cricket; from childhood onwards, cricket was simply part of his life. But he also knew that he wanted a career in teaching: he always found children easy company.

He was, and remained throughout his life, a fan of pranks and practical jokes. He would, for example, carry around a musical horn, filled with talcum powder. Whenever anyone tried to play the horn, the powder would blow back into the would-be musician's face.

He was similarly renowned for his shaggy-dog stories. Friends and colleagues eventually learned that, when Meyrick embarked on a story, there would mostly likely be a punchline at the end.

After losing a bet while at Caerleon teacher-training college in Newport, he spent a year wearing only red shoes. He liked it so much that he adopted the habit for life: red shoes became his trademark. Newport also became a habit: he taught in its schools for the next 30 years, eventually becoming deputy head of St Woolos Primary School and Nursery.

His fondness for jokes and stories followed him into the classroom. He would tell pupils that, one Christmas Eve, he had heard a noise downstairs. Later, he had found a piece of red cloth - promptly produced - on his windowsill. Clearly, he concluded, Santa's coat had been caught in his window. …

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