Tribute to Hereford headteacher who was ‘champion of all children’

THE wife of a former Hereford headteacher has paid tribute to her brave husband who has lost his battle with cancer.

John Sheppard was well-known in the city having most-recently been at the helm of Hereford Academy.

He stepped down in 2015 after spearheading the school’s move to a new £21.2 million site in 2011, his wife Alison said teaching was his real passion.

Originally from Stoke-on-Trent, Mr Sheppard moved to Herefordshire when he was 22 to become an English teacher at St Mary’s RC High School in Lugwardine. Mrs Shephard said he developed the drama department during his tenure and it became one of the best in the county at that time.

He also had spells at Kingstone, in the Forest of Dean and Cheltenham before starting at Haywood High School, which would become the Hereford Academy.

He also stared in and produced youth and adult productions for Hereford Musical Theatre Company, and was a co-founder of Mad Dogs Theatre Company.

The couple married in 1983 and were a week from their 37th wedding anniversary when Mr Sheppard passed away on October 15.

He is survived by his wife, two children, David and Michael and his parents Barrie and Maureen.

“He was a great champion of all children,” Mrs Sheppard said.

“I remember someone was playing a piano and a guitar in the dining area at lunch time, and most of the school started to join in singing.

“He felt that this was a great sign that they were now a community.

“Throughout his teaching career John was firm but fair, always trying to see the best in all his pupils and this is shown in the fantastic tributes the family have received. He was also a great lover of any sport especially anything that involved a ball but Stoke City and Manchester United being firm favourites.

“After leaving the Academy John unfortunately developed cancer. It was an illness he fought with great dignity and courage.”

His family funeral is at Hereford Crematorium on Wednesday.

Hereford Times