Life dedicated to teaching the younger generations

thisisoxfordshire: The late Mel Summers The late Mel Summers

A FORMER headteacher at a school in West Oxford has died aged 92.

Mel Summers spent most of his career in education, about 30 years at West Oxford Primary School.

He started at the Ferry Hinksey Road school as a teacher before becoming deputy head and then headteacher in 1967. During his time there he helped to educate hundreds of children and was known for his dedication to the school.

On more than one occasion during the winter months he would get to school early in order to stoke up its enormous boiler so the building was warm by the time the children arrived.

Melville Summers was born on November 10, 1921, in the mining village of Troedrhiwgwair near Tredegar in South Wales.

Both his parents died when he was young so he and his brother were brought up by their aunt Jane and uncle Fred Cains.

He was training to be a surveyor of mines when the war broke out and he joined the RAF but, because of a perforated eardrum, he was exempt from flying duties and instead was put in charge of the post office for the RAF base at Hoylake on the Wirral.

After the war he was determined to do what he could to help the next generation and so trained to be a teacher.

His first post was at St Clement’s Secondary School in Oxford before moving to West Oxford Primary School.

In 1947 he married Gwen Jones, a nurse he met while visiting a friend in Tredegar General Hospital.

He became a Christian in 1952 after attending a Billy Graham crusade and he helped establish the Congregational Church at Collinwood Road, where he served as a treasurer.

When this congregation had become settled, he moved nearer home to the church at Temple Cowley, where he was a Sunday School teacher and Elder for many years.

From an early age he was passionate about sports, especially football, rugby, tennis and athletics. He became a referee for Oxford County and taught football to many generations of children.

Mel Summers died on December 4 and is survived by his wife, two children, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

His funeral will be taking place today at Temple Cowley United Reform Church.

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