‘Respected’ former teacher and councillor who taught Paul McCartney dies age 86
PUBLISHED: 16:30 21 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:30 22 July 2020
A “respected and knowledgeable” former chairman of Leiston Town Council, who taught two members of The Beatles when training to become a teacher, has sadly died at the age of 86.
Tributes have been pouring in for Frank Huxley, former chairman of Leiston Town Council and also a popular teacher at the town’s high school for many years – who has been described by his daughter Sue as an “information sponge”.
The father-of-three died peacefully at home with his wife of 62 years, Joan, on Tuesday, July 7 after battling a long illness.
Mr Huxley stood on Leiston Town Council for 38 years from 1964 to 2011, where he was chairman four times.
He gave so much to the town he loved that he was the first person to be presented with Honorary Freedom of Leiston Town in 2013.
He has been described by people in the town as being “respected, gentle, knowledgeable and a very humble man”.
His daughter Sue said: “He was a very good dad and I have many very happy memories with him.
“It was great having a teacher as a dad as we were able to spend the summer holidays together.
“He was very annoying to play Scrabble against as he was an information sponge. He loved to read and learn, and he was very knowledgeable.”
Mr Huxley was born in Stockport and was educated at the town’s grammar school before getting a place at Reading University where he met his wife Joan of 62 years.
He earned an honours degree in Classics – studying Ancient Greek and Latin, and Ancient History – and then gained a Diploma in Education at Liverpool University.
Here, during his teacher training year, Mr Huxley taught The Beatles members Paul McCartney and George Harrison Latin at the city’s Liverpool Institute High School for Boys – a story which he was very proud of.
His first teaching role was at the Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning, followed by Chester, where his first son Philip was born.
Mr and Mrs Huxley were expecting their son Ian when they arrived in Leiston in 1961, where he took on his first position as a Classics teacher at the Grammar School.
Mr Huxley taught there until the town went comprehensive and he moved to the High School.
He taught 12 different subjects from Classics to Computing and was also careers master, examinations secretary and the head of the sixth form until his retirement in 1989.
Outside school he became a popular figure in the town by being very active and embracing local issues.
One of his passions was stamp collecting and he founded and ran the Leiston Stamp Club from 1970 to 2014. In 1999 he was presented with the philatelic traders society enterprise award for his personal contribution, presented by David Dimbleby at Westminster Palace.
He also printed a quarterly magazine for the King George VI Society, which he distributed throughout the world to over 600 members – including Buckingham Palace – and in 2000 was awarded for recognition of his distinguished service.
Along with stamps, Mr Huxley collected hundreds of postcards of Leiston and had an “encyclopaedic” knowledge of the town, which he was more than happy to share.
He held talks on these postcards and an electronic file is held of them at the Long Shop Museum where he loved volunteering in later years.
He was particularly musical, and whilst he could play the piano and would accompany his daughter Sue on the violin, his main passion was to sing.
He sang in the Leiston Choir and even conducted the Women’s Institutes.
Mr Huxley and his wife Joan were also keen dancers and he appeared on Come Dancing in the formation team.
He became a Magistrate in 1983, where he served on the family court in Lowestoft, until taking retirement in 2003 at the age of 70.
His family added: “He was a very fair and compassionate man, who often came home very moved by what he had heard in court that day.”
During his life in Leiston Mr Huxley was also treasurer of the Citizens Advice Bureau, helped at the youth club and the sea cadets and was treasurer for the local branch of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
He will be missed by his wife Joan, three children Philip, Ian and Sue and his grandchildren Charlie and Emily.
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