Tributes paid to ‘kind’ former Cannington teacher Denis Northam

Written by on December 4, 2020

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Cannington parish councillor and teacher who has sadly died.

Denis Northam died at The Rosary Nursing Home in Mayfield Drive, Bridgwater aged 91.

Mr Northam was born and went to school in Exeter. He was called up for national service in 1947 and joined the RAF during which time he became engaged to Maureen, his wife.

He then went to St Luke’s College in Exeter where he trained to become teacher.

Denis and Maureen moved to Somerset in 1953 after he secured a job at Cannington All Age School to introduce science to the curicullum and to set up a new science laboratory.

The couple have lived in the same house in Cannington since 1964.

“He spent several happy years there and is still remembered by some of the pupils whom he taught,”Maureen said.

Then in 1957 Denis moved to Admiral Blake Secondary Modern School where he taught rural science and later became the head of science.

“Denis was at Blake until 1987 when after being deputy head for a number of years, he retired as acting headteacher,” Maureen said.

“He calculated that around 5000 pupils had passed through his hands and benefitted from his kindness, wisdom and integrity.

“Quite a number of his ex pupils and staff colleagues have kept in touch with him and visited him when they could.”

After he retired Denis became a member of the Congregational Chapel in Cannington in 1954 with his wife Maureen.

He became church secretary, a post which he held for 42 years.

During his time as secretary Denis oversaw the renovation of the Chapel, planning the changes and raising funds for the building work.

He was also a member of Cannington Parish Council and during his time there became chairman with Maureen by his side as acting parish clerk.

“He loved the village, having moved there when it was a small traditional community based on the church and school and supported its growth into the village we know today,” Maureen said.

“We celebrated our 71st wedding anniversary in August which is quite a milestone these days.

“We met when we were 13 years of age and enjoyed a long and happy life together with our two daughters, Myra and Alison and their grandchildren and great grandchildren.”

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