Tributes paid to late Suffolk primary school teacher and firefighter
PUBLISHED: 10:21 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:37 09 January 2020
SUPPLIED BY FAMILY
Tributes have been paid to a former primary school teacher and firefighter who devoted his life to the community for more than 50 years.
James White moved to Suffolk in the 1960s, making the county his home and dedicating much of his time to help the people of Long Melford and Sudbury in any way he could.
Mr White died at home on January 2, shortly after celebrating his 90th birthday with family and friends.
Before his time in Suffolk, Mr White served his country as a flight sergeant in the RAF, and played a role in the Berlin Airlift in 1948 and the Suez Crisis in 1956.
He trained as a teacher, beginning his career in Birmingham before moving to Long Melford Primary School in 1964. From there he went on to Sudbury High School for Girls and Uplands Middle School before hanging up his hat in 1984.
No stranger to helping others, Mr White served as a volunteer firefighter at Long Melford and Sudbury fire stations for 20 years alongside his teaching career, in a bid to give back to his adopted home.
He gave up his free time after work to aid the fire service, arriving at the station on his trademark bicycle at any hour of the night.
His son, Thomas White, said: "Being a part-time fireman definitely appealed to my father's sense of community - he enjoyed helping people from all walks of life. And because he couldn't leave the classroom to respond to fire calls he made sure he was always on duty at weekends and overnight.
"He never once complained about getting up at all hours to answer a fire call and he was a well-known figure in Sudbury racing to the fire station on his bicycle.
"He was always pleased when former students from over the decades would stop him in the street to say hello, which was a frequent occurrence."
Tom added his father may be remembered by former pupils for his "clear and distinctive" italic handwriting in his marks and comments, although said the former English and history teacher always tried to "encourage rather than find fault".
Mr White will be remembered by his wife Sheila, four children and 10 grandchildren.