‘Goodbye, dear friends’ - Suffolk broadcaster Simon Warr dies days after last social media post
PUBLISHED: 11:42 22 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:39 22 February 2020
Former Suffolk schoolteacher and broadcaster Simon Warr has died after being treated for pancreatic and liver cancer.
Mr Warr was a teacher at the Royal Hospital School at Holbrook for many years - from where he was catapulted to fame by appearing in television series on education.
His views on education were very traditional, and he defended the use of corporal punishment in schools.
In 2014 he went on trial on abuse charges, but was acquitted on all counts and spent much of the last five years campaigning for the rights of those unjustly accused of abuse.
Mr Warr found fame in the Channel Four series "That'll Teach Them" in which he took the part of a teacher preparing a group of modern-day GCSE students to sit O levels from the 1950s. In the third and final series in 2006 he was promoted to headmaster when it was filmed over the summer holidays at St Joseph's College in Ipswich.
He also appeared in other reality shows on national networks - as well as being a regular contributor to BBC Radio Suffolk. He continued to report on local football for the station until earlier this season.
He was also a columnist on the EADT for several years while he was still teaching at the RHS - attracting readers who both agreed and argued with his views.
Mr Warr had used Twitter in the campaign to support those who had been wrongly accused of abuse - but on Thursday told his followers that he was writing his last tweet from a hospice.
Mr Warr wrote that he was receiving care in a hospice and was "unlikely to be on Twitter again".
He added: "As some know already, I have a very serious health condition & am now receiving care in a hospice. I have asked a close friend to let you know the outcome, but I'd like to thank you all for your friendship & support.
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"I like to think that my legacy will be a greater awareness of the human costs of false sexual allegations & wrongful convictions.
"It is a comfort to know that my book Presumed Guilty has been useful for so many who have faced this ordeal & for their families. There is still much work to do, but I'll not be able to be part of it.
"I have greatly enjoyed tweeting & campaigning, as well as meeting some of you. Goodbye to you all, dear friends.
A post on his Twitter account on Saturday said: "It is with great sadness that I've been asked to let all Simon's followers know that he passed away early this morning at the age of 65 after a short battle with pancreatic/liver cancer. He was surrounded by his family, as well as the love & prayers of his many friends.
"Simon's family have asked me to thank everyone who sent him such kind messages of love, support & hope. Simon's campaign for justice for the falsely accused will continue. He had just finished writing a new book. Funeral arrangements will be shared soon."
Radio Suffolk's Mark Murphy put up a Facebook comment saying: "Devastated that our dear friend Simon Warr passed away in the early hours of today. His zest for life was amazing. He was funny, irritating at times and opinionated but a dear dear friend."
Jeremy Vine praised Simon Warr's presenting style. The BBC Radio 2 host said: "He was a tremendously loyal and very kind man whose abrasive on-air style belied his true thoughtfulness and compassion.
"He loved to broadcast, to write, and above all to teach. Taken too soon, and far too quickly. RIP"
Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal said: "Simon's unique and enthusiastic reporting style made him the voice of grassroots football in Suffolk. He shone a spotlight on clubs and the local game in a way no others could match.
"We will miss his exuberance, wit and unrivalled knowledge but will be forever grateful for all he did to promote football and all sport in Suffolk."