Tributes paid to former Bognor headteacher with 'great zest for life'

Paul on his 50th wedding anniversary
Paul on his 50th wedding anniversary

Tributes have been paid to a former headteacher at St Mary's in Bognor who has died.

Paul Kilcoyne, who died on September 3 was headmaster at St Mary's Catholic Primary School from 1983 to 1996.

He enjoyed his time at the school and made sure he spent time with students, occasionally teaching the reception class so they didn't see him as a 'scary headteacher', his widow Pamela has said.

The current headteacher at St Mary's Peter Edington said: "Mr Kilcoyne had a great impact at St Mary's. Many of the staff and parents remember him fondly.

"He was always keen to read to the infants and was the life and soul of staff celebrations. He was headteacher at St Mary's during the eighties and nineties and even made the Bognor Observer with a millennial baby whose parents were keen for her to come to the school.

"He is fondly remembered and will be greatly missed."

When changes came to the school, Paul enjoyed taking on new responsibilities that others didn't, even as the headteacher, Pamela said

She said he was 'quite traditional', believed in 'good grammar' and a 'strong knowledge' of mathematics.

Paul retired in '96 with arthritis and travelled 'all around the country' after setting up an educational consultancy and was able to work with his daughter selling software to schools.

Paul was 73 when he died. He grew up in Bolton and had two sisters and a brother.

As well as his siblings, he is survived by Pamela, two daughters and four grandchildren who have said he will be 'sorely missed'.

Pamela said: "It was a great shock because he had a great zest for life. He wasn't resigned to dying but the way it came was very quick."

"On the Saturday before he died he went up to Oxford to see his daughter who had a large barbecue so he had a lovely day."

At the barbecue Paul was able to see family and friends he hadn't seen in 'a long time' including his two sisters.

Pamela added: "It's amazing, even I wasn't aware of how many people he touched."

Paul was a fan of Bolton Wanderers and an active member of The Bognor Club where he would play his 'favourite hobby' bridges.

Pamela said he 'adored' sport and was always a member of the snooker team. He had been 'delighted' with the recent cricket results.

A funeral service will be held at Our Lady of Sorrows church on Clarence Road at 10am September 21 where Paul attended mass.

A message posted on The Bognor Club's facebook page read: "With sadness I have to tell you that Paul Kilcoyne died on Monday 3rd September in Oxford hospital, he went into cardiac arrest and could not be saved. Our condolences to Pam."