Tributes to one and only head teacher of Lightcliffe school

Head teacher of Eastfield, Desmond Cameron
Head teacher of Eastfield, Desmond Cameron

Former pupils have paid tribute to the first and only head teacher of Eastfield Secondary School in Lightcliffe after the news of his passing at the age of 92.

Desmond Cameron took up the post at the school, which is now Lightcliffe Academy, back in 1969 when it was built to replace Victoria and St Martin’s Secondary Schools.

The school changed its name 16 years later to Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School and Desmond retired soon after.

Former pupil of Eastfield, Sean O’Connell, remembers his old head teacher fondly.

He said: “When I first went there I only knew him as a head, not as a teacher.

“It wasn’t until he started teaching me in the fourth year that I got to know him.

“He took my class for English. Until then I always loved English and wanted to do something in writing but I had always been told by careers that people from my background did not do it.

“When he came along I got really good feedback and positive encouragement. He brought out the best in me, I worked even harder.

“When I left school, and into journalism, I always remembered the encouragement he gave me and whenever I had achievements in life I used to think of Mr Cameron and think ‘if only he could see me now’.”

Sean got back in touch with Desmond a few weeks before his death to thank him for his time at school.

Desmond’s daughter, Michele Cameron, replied to say her dad had dementia but that she had read his letter to him and that he had responded, seeming to understand why he had written to him.

When he was informed of Desmond’s death, Sean took to Facebook to let other former pupils know and to share memories of the one and only head at Eastfield.

He said: “When I put it on Facebook I thought there would be a mixed response but there isn’t any negative feedback. Even the ones who had to go and see him and be punished had a lot of affection for him. I think he was popular because he had a good sense of humour and you could have a bit of a laugh with him

“He had the human touch and would talk to us on our level, an amazing quality to have.”

Michele said: “He lived for another 32 years after retiring and spent many of those happily with his children, three grandchildren and one great grandchild, doing the things he loved like walking, gardening, reading and listening to music.

“Although he moved to the Midlands to be near his grandchildren, his heart was always in Yorkshire and we shall be going back there, to the Dales, to scatter his ashes.”