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Tributes paid to ‘passionate’ former Suffolk teacher and councillor

PUBLISHED: 08:01 17 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:24 17 May 2020

Peter Watkiss died last month after a long illness Picture: FAMILY

Peter Watkiss died last month after a long illness Picture: FAMILY

Archant

Touching tributes have been paid to a ‘passionate’ former teacher and councillor who sadly died last month following a long illness.

Peter Watkiss, who was born in 1939, moved to Suffolk in the early 1970s from Chichester to begin teaching French at Leiston Modern School.

He was popular among students, being actively involved in the school’s pantomime productions.

As well as his theatrical contributions, Mr Watkiss also led may of the school’s trips to France.

Mr Watkiss continued to teach French and lead educational trips after he moved to Leiston Middle School, but he retired early in 1994 due to ill health.

Outside of school, he served on Friston Parish Council as both a councillor and chairman.

A keen sportsman, Mr Watkiss was also involved in running the Leiston Tigers junior football teams.

Most recently, he was a governor at Coldfair Green Primary School.

After many years of ill health, Mr Watkiss passed away peacefully at his home in Friston on Saturday, April 25, and his funeral was held on Wednesday, May 13.

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He leaves behind his wife of nearly 46 years, Pearl, two sons, James and Jason, and a granddaughter, Dolly.

Pearl added: “Peter fitted in and loved the area when he moved here. He was very involved with the community.

“He was someone who always wanted children to do their best.”

James, who was also taught by his father at school, added: “He taught so many people and commanded so much respect.

“There were a lot a teachers who may have jumped through a few hoops when teaching, but he always made it work.

“He touched people on so many levels and was so passionate in what he was doing.

“I always looked up to him. He taught me and my brother and was always there for us.

“He knew so many people who were really fond of him.

James also thanked everyone who had passed on messages of support since his father’s passing at the end of last month.

He said: “We’ve been blown away - it highlights the impact he had on people.”


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