Former Harold Hill headmaster celebrates centenary

John Shannon, former headteacher of Priory School, now called Drapers Pyrgo Priory Primary School.

John Shannon, former headteacher of Priory School, now called Drapers Pyrgo Priory Primary School. - Credit: Eileen Pearson []

A school is set to honour a former headmaster who reached the grand age of 100 yesterday.

John Shannon, pictured, presided over the Priory School, now called Drapers Pyrgo Priory Primary School, for 10 years from 1952.

Glenn Lucas, current headmaster of the school in Settle Road, Harold Hill, said the decision to name a school building after him was made after learning of his approaching birthday.

“A Year 6 block will be called the Shannon Block and we are sending a video of the children’s thanks to his daughter,” said Mr Lucas.

In his memoir, Mr Shannon speaks fondly of his time at the school and of living in the borough.

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“The children loved coming to school.

“We had no trouble, as most schools did, and we had no trouble with absenteeism.

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“Truancy didn’t exist, and the parents supported us wholeheartedly. “

The former teacher, who now lives in Harrogate, Yorkshire, called the school “unusual”.

“To start with it was a new building made entirely of aluminium, in an experimental design for the time that wasn’t altogether successful,” he continued.

“It was also a big school, and held up to nearly 800 junior children.”

Mr Shannon, wife Eileen and children, John and Eileen enjoyed living in Romford before the family moved to Bradford.

After volunteering at charities Carers’ Time Off, Supporting the Elderly – part of the Royal Voluntary Service – and a telephone befriending service, Mr Shannon was made one of the Queen’s 60 jubilee champions in 2014. He was also appointed one of the 12 Diamond Champions of the Royal Voluntary Service, and given a commemorative badge by Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

He continued: “I have never done an enormous amount of voluntary work, but I have to give credit to my parents for starting me off thinking that a little voluntary work was a good idea.”

Happily, Mr Shannon is still in touch with former pupils.

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