Tributes pour in for iconic Hayfield head teacher

Tony Storey,  Doncaster Freemen
Tony Storey, Doncaster Freemen
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Tony Storey dedicated 37 years of his life serving Auckley school.

He was the iconic figurehead of a Doncaster school for the best part of four decades.

Sixth form students at Hayfield School celebrate with long-standing Headteacher Tony Storey, after the school achieved a third mention on the Chief Inspector of Schools outstanding list (D8658LR)

Sixth form students at Hayfield School celebrate with long-standing Headteacher Tony Storey, after the school achieved a third mention on the Chief Inspector of Schools outstanding list (D8658LR)

This week those whose lives were touched by Tony Storey, the long-serving head teacher at Hayfield School, have been mourning his death.

Before his retirement Mr Storey was Britain’s longest serving headteacher and a Freeman of The Borough. He dedicated 37 years of his life to working as headteacher at the Auckley school,

He died suddenly and unexpectedly after suffering a stroke.

Tributes have been paid by relatives, friends, colleages, and the pupils he taught over his long career.

Tony Storey OBE received the Freedom of the Borough at the Mansion House. Picture: Marie Caley D1085MC

Tony Storey OBE received the Freedom of the Borough at the Mansion House. Picture: Marie Caley D1085MC

The 76-year-old, who was also awarded an OBE for his services to education, can also lay claim to becoming the youngest secondary headteacher in the country after taking up his post in 1971 at the age of 31.

Jeff Roberts, who worked as deputy head of The Hayfield School alongside Mr Storey, said: “A word people often use when speaking about Tony is iconic. He had a real generosity of spirit and was a man a integrity.

“Tony was intellectually mischievous. He didn’t suffer fools gladly and resented the politics in education. For him it was all about putting children first. He never gave up on a child and always saw the best in people.

“He was an inspirational leader and commanded a great loyalty in people who worked alongside him, working at the school for 30 years or more was common for a teacher when Tony was around.”

Mr Storey, who died on Wednesday June 3, became a Freeman of The Borough in 2008 – an accolade bestowed on a select few honoured for their services to Doncaster.

In his role as chairman of the Freemen of Doncaster Group he was instrumental in setting up the Young People’s Awards – an annual Doncaster ceremony designed to reward youngsters who have shown exceptional talent or overcome adversity to excel in their studies.

Mr Storey was also a much loved family man and leaves behind his partner of 28 years Jan Russell, his son Guy Storey and daughter Anne-Louise Storey-Powles and three grandchildren Isaac, 15, Reuben 13 and seven-year-old Daisy.

Jan said: “He was very quick witted. In many ways he was very quiet but he would always be listening to what was going on and give a good quip every now and again. He loved to read and writing was also a passion of his, he would get up and write every day for a good couple of hours.”

Son Guy added: “He was an extremely supportive father. We are very proud of him and all his achievements.When I used to go into Doncaster with him it was a nightmare, he was so well known that every shop we went in and everywhere we went someone stopped to speak to him.

“A lot of people tell stories about going into his office and not being able to see him because he was surrounded by a smog cloud from his cigar.

“He kept in touch with a lot of his former students and would even visit some of them at university.”

Under Mr Storey’s leadership Hayfield School achieved “distinction” status on three occassions following Ofsted inspections,

Mr Storey was also the proud recipient of a National Teachers’ Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2004.

In recent years Mr Storey had also became a regular local newspaper columnist.

A spokesman from The Hayfield School said: “The Hayfield School is deeply saddened to hear the news of the sudden death of former Headteacher Tony Storey. The school has been inundated with tributes form former pupils and staff. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Mayor Ros Jones said: “We are all deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Tony Storey, who was an exceptional educator and an active member of the local community who did so much to promote our town.

“Tony was a Freeman of the Borough, which is testament to his incredible 37 years of service as headteacher at Hayfield School as well as the affection that so many people had for him throughout Doncaster.”

Caroline Flint MP said: “Tony Storey served for nearly four decades as a headteacher and generations of young people flourished at Hayfield School during that time. He was passionate about education; passionate about our airport and passionate about Doncaster being a great place to live and work. Tony was a straight-talking, larger than life character and a great ambassador for our town. When they made Tony, they broke the mould. I’m not sure we will ever see his like again. My thoughts are with his partner Jan and his family, and I hope they are comforted by the warm tributes from those who knew him well.”

* The funeral takes place on Monday June 22. A cremation service for family, close friends and colleagues will take place at Sherwood Forest Crematorium, Ollerton at 11am. A memorial service will take place in the afternoon at Hayfield School at 1.30pm, all welcome. A wake will also take place at the Bluebell Inn in Lound at 6pm.

Collection money will be split between The Hayfield School Fund and Scleroderma Society.

Facebook comments:

Michael Kitching “Every bit the best Headmaster you could wish! RIP Sir”

Shiree Kerry “Awe so so sad. Cracking headteacher.

top teacher Non of us messed about. But gallons of respect for him. RIP sir xxx”

Michael Edmanson “I was at Hayfield in the 1970’s when it first opened and he always had time for you, dedicated to his profession.”

Nicola Worthington “Iconic. Completely agree. Happy Hayfield years 1986- 93”

Nichola Garthwaite-scott “Excellent Headmaster had time for everyone. I was there from 1986 - 1992. RIP Sir xx”

Lee Smith “He was more than a head teacher, a man who had so much respect from his pupils”

Tony Storey writing about his career last year for an article for The Association of School and college leaders (ASCL)

“I loved the role, with wonderful supportive teaching and ancillary staff, many of whom I appointed young and who remained with me for 30 to 40 years.

“Hence we retained strong links with our catchment families and by 2006 were teaching grandchildren of our first pupils in 1971.

“At age 69 I thought I’d best retire rather than be carried out, but five years on and I still miss the job and daily contact with the young.

“I keep in touch with lots of former students (age 18 to 55) in all walks of life, worldwide.

“Given that some 20,000 pupils ‘suffered’ under my hopefully benign headship, it’s difficult to shop in Doncaster without meeting someone. I’ve grown adept at teasing out who they are!”