My older brother, Cecil Poynton, who has died aged 93, was a primary school teacher in Chirk, near Wrexham, and in nearby Pentre, for more than 35 years, mostly teaching pupils in year 6, and charged with preparing them for secondary education.
Cecil was born in Chirk, to May (nee Halman), a domestic servant, and Harry Poynton, a miner. The local doctor declared the tiny baby “not viable”, but tender care from the district nurse and parents ensured that he survived – and prospered. Football was the young Cecil’s passion, though austerity made it difficult to acquire both ball and boots. When he did get boots, he wore them to bed. Harry and May were determined that a miner’s life would not be for Cec, and after attending Llangollen county school (now Dinas Bran school), at the age of 17 he went to train as a teacher at Bangor Normal College.
After completing his training he was called up by the RAF and served mostly at West Kirby on the Wirral. In 1949 an RAF careers adviser told him there were teaching vacancies at Market Drayton, Shropshire. He worked there for one term and then joined Pentre junior school in 1950, following the death of the headteacher, as acting head. In the early 60s he moved to the larger Chirk primary school as deputy head, teaching year 6 students, which was what he loved doing. He remained at Chirk primary school until retiring in 1988.
Cecil was a teacher 24 hours a day, always insisting on the highest standards. And that affected family too: he was a stickler for correct punctuation. When his daughter Helen sent her first letter home from college aged 18, he underlined the grammatical errors and sent it back.
Football was a constant throughout his life. In the early 50s, while chaperoning his sisters on a trip to a Butlin’s in north Wales, Cec took part in a football game. Despite not having any boots with him, he played well and was offered a trial at Blackburn Rovers by a scout. However, by then he had started teaching and didn’t want to change careers (at that time, the maximum wage for footballers was £10 a week), so he didn’t take it up. A few years earlier he had been invited for a trial at Manchester United, set up because Cec knew the Man Utd player Billy Meredith and his family. That trial didn’t happen because Old Trafford was still bomb-damaged. A football career was not to be, although Cec continued to play for Chirk AAA, winning the Welsh National League league in 1952.
In his retirement, Cec played golf regularly at Vale of Llangollen Golf Club and avidly supported Arsenal FC. He was also a keen and knowledgable gardener.
Cec married Elaine Roberts in 1962. She died in 1995. He is survived by their four children, Mark, Catherine, Richard and Helen, and granddaughters, Charlotte, Ellie and Olivia, and by his sister, Brenda, and me.