Daughter’s tribute to Thornhill High’s deputy head

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The daughter of former Thornhill High School deputy headteacher Eric Barber has paid tribute to her devoted father.

Dad-of-four and grandfather-to-eight Mr Barber died last week, aged 87, after ongoing medical problems.

His daughter Melanie Mason said: “A conversation with my dad was a delight because he really put you at ease. He came across as wise and experienced in life. He could always see the whole picture and he would give you 100 per cent of his attention. I have lost not just a dad but a friend.”

Mr Barber was born in Eccleshill near Bradford and spent time in Pudsey, Wilsden and Halifax before settling in Thornhill at the age of 10.

There, he joined Thornhill Parish Church choir and developed a love of church and organ music, later becoming deputy organist.

Mr Barber studied at Dewsbury Wheelwright Grammar School and at 17 went to Chester Teaching Training College.

He then took up his first teaching post at Victoria Secondary School in Dewsbury, where he also ran a boys’ choir.

After twelve years, he moved to Thornhill Secondary as head of maths and became deputy head just three years later. In his mid-30s he was also appointed head of Heckmondwike Evening Centre.

Mrs Mason said: “Dad had a way with children and he never did anything else except teach. He loved to help kids and there were times when his patience was second to none.”

Mr Barber also pursued his passion for music, as an organist at various churches including St John the Baptist in Dawgreen and Batley Congregational Church.

He later went on to play in clubs and theatres as a freelance organist and provided musical accompaniment for celebrities including Coronation Street actresses Lynne Perrie and Liz Dawn.

In a Euology he produced prior to his death, Mr Barber paid tribute to his late wife Sheila. He said: “I have had a full and rewarding life, my luckiest facet being Sheila my wife. We had sixty three years together. She encouraged me, supported me and made my success in life.”

His funeral takes place at 10am on April 22 at Mount Tabor Church in Shaw Cross.