Tributes pour in for former deputy head of Woodbridge school

Dr James Harper died on Wednesday April 15 and his funeral took place at St Mary's church. Picture:

Dr James Harper died on Wednesday April 15 and his funeral took place at St Mary's church. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

The former deputy head teacher of Woodbridge School, Dr James Harper, has died after testing positive for coronavirus and tributes have rolled in for the man who touched so many lives.

Dr Harper taught at the Suffolk school between 1968 and 1992, and began his career there as a French teacher after national service in the Royal Airforce.

He died on Wednesday April 15 after testing positive for Covid-19 and a small funeral was held at Seven Hills cemetery with a small number of colleagues from the school.

Ros Kamaryc, who worked alongside him as co-deputy head, said she was very fond of him from their time together.

“James had a mischievous sense of humour as well as a sharp wit,” Ms Kamaryc said.

“His speech was crisp and precise, but this belied an inner warmth and genuine kindness.

“James was one of a kind and it was a privilege to work with him and to learn from him.”

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Alongside his work with languages, Dr Harper was passionate about photography and committed to the school’s Scout Troop where he exemplified the key values of scouting; integrity, respect, care and belief.

Other colleagues from the school recalled his punctuality and high professional standards, as well as an immaculate style and love for classical music.

Stephen Cole, who retired as head teacher at the school in 2014, attended the funeral and said: “Sadly the coronavirus that ended James’ life also prevented him having the funeral that he had wanted.

“It is hoped that a memorial service or requiem will be held at St Mary’s when that is possible.

“Through his strong faith he recognised the concept of servant leadership, and Woodbridge pupils were richer for the loyal commitment he showed in his quarter of a century at the school.”

Though Mr Cole arrived at the school after Dr Harper had retired, his reputation as a meticulous deputy had preceded him and his high expectations were legendary among staff and students.

After leaving Woodbridge School in the 90s, Dr Harper spent several years in Papua New Guinea working in the education ministry upon request of the Arch Bishop.

His Christian faith never wavered, even in his final years which were clouded by dementia.

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