Tribute to talented musician and award-winning headteacher Edward Lainchbury

Lifetime Contribution award winner Edward Lainchbury presented with is award by Martin Stead (right)
-Credit: (Image: Katie Pugh)


Tributes have been paid to a former headteacher at Gillshill Primary School describing him as a "generous man" an "accomplished musician" and an "inspirational" educator.

Edward Lainchbury was born in Upper Swell in Gloucestershire on January 11, 1946, and moved to Cornwall with his family as a teenager. As an adult, he spent more than 50 years of his life in Hull which he dedicated to improving the lives of children.

He died peacefully at Hull Royal Infirmary on Saturday, June 15 aged 78. During the last few years, Edward had suffered from ill health but it didn't stop him from traveling extensively and living his life to the full.

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In tribute, Helen Green, his sister, said: "He was very generous, he was loyal, he was just this extraordinary person. He loved his work and the kids."

Retired primary school teacher and Edward's friend of more than 40 years, Christine Smith, described him as "kind" and "thoughtful". She said: "He was a very genuine person. I first met him in 1981 and I joined Hessle Amateurs - as they were called then - and we were doing a production of My Fair Lady and he was the musical director.

"We became friends and I was MD at times and he helped me a lot with the music I'd done in my life. He's worked with Hessle Amateurs, he's worked with Hull Amateurs, he's worked in Beverley producing shows at the new theatre.

"He's a very genuine person, very caring, very knowledgeable - but he never made it seem so. He and I went to Verona to the opera and he implied he didn't know any opera stories but he knew them so intimately and he could tell you which bit of the story you were up to. He just made everything so pleasant."

Christine added: "As teaching moved on and more and more paperwork came in, he wanted to make sure the children always got the best deal and the best experience and quality. That was his passion, really."

Recognised as a talented singer from the age of seven, Edward was offered a place at the choir school at Canterbury Cathedral as a boarding chorister. His Christmasses as a young child were spent away from his family in Canterbury Cathedral, enabling him to perform for Christmas mass.

As an adult, Edward began his teaching career in a Luton secondary school as a Food Technology teacher. He saw an advert for the post as a live-in teacher in a children’s home in east Hull – a city he had no connections with.

Edward was successful in securing this post and moved to Hull in January 1971. Following this post, Edward joined Dorchester Junior Middle School and soon became Deputy Head.

In 1987 he secured the position of Headteacher at East Mount Junior School, Longhill. In 1988, following the reorganisation of the education system to primary and secondary schools, Edward became the Headteacher of Gillshill Primary School.

Edward had an inspirational vision for the school - the children’s well-being and happiness were at the heart of all his decisions. He created a culture in the school that enabled all pupils to flourish not only academically but socially and emotionally.

He was passionate about creating opportunities for children to have experiences outside of school life. He took pupils to Raleigh, in North Carolina, as well as on visits to Covent Garden Opera House, Musicals in the West End, and sailing on the ‘Audrey’ on the River Humber and River Thames.

Edward was an accomplished musician and inspired many throughout his time in education. With his skill and expertise, the school has a longstanding history of staging outstanding school musical performances.

He was instrumental in setting up Classics in the Park and conducted for over 10 years as well as being an amateur Musical Director for Hull, Hessle and Beverley Musical Theatre. More recently, he supported a Ladies Choir in Leven.

In 2001, Edward retired from Headship at Gillshill but was co-opted to the Governing Body serving as a governor and Chair of Governors. He travelled around Italy with his Uncle, John Stanton Ward, an accomplished painter commissioned by the Royal Family to paint portraits of Diana Princess of Wales, Prince William, and Prince Harry.

Following his uncle's death, Edward spent around a decade living between the Italian town of Bolsena and his home in Hull. In 2019 Edward was the recipient of the Hull Daily Mail Award for Lifetime Commitment to Education and friends said he recounted this as one of the proudest moments of his life.

The 2019 news report said: “This year, the judges selected Edward Lainchbury for his long-standing commitment to the city's education system. He has touched the lives of thousands of children during his long stint at the helm of Gillshill Primary School."

He was respected and loved by the Gillshill school community who are committed to ensuring his legacy lives on. Edward is survived by his sister Helen, his brother-in-law Bernie, all his godsons, as well as his friends and extensive Gillshill family.