Memorial service for accomplished former St Aelred’s headteacher

Alban Smith, who retired as headteacher of St Aelred's in Newton, in 1990
Alban Smith, who retired as headteacher of St Aelred's in Newton, in 1990
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A memorial service will be take place for a well-known retired headteacher.

Alban Smith, who lived in Wrightington, served at the helm of St Aelred’s Catholic High School from 1966 until his retirement in 1990.

He died at his home on February 2.

A memorial service will take place at Hope Academy in Newton-le-Willows on Monday, March 12 at 7.30pm.

Among the guests invited to speak at the service are Greater Manchester mayor and St Aelred’s alumi Andy Burnham, his son Dr Andy Smith, a distinguished glaciologist noted for his work on the British Antarctic Survey, and numerous former colleagues.

Mr Smith joined St Aelred’s in 1966 and led the school through its reorganisation into a 11-18 comprehensive.

The school, which took pupils from Newton and parts of Wigan, quickly developed a reputation for outstanding exam results during Mr Smith’s leadership.

Under his leadership, the school was at the forefront in the 70’s at developing policies such as abolition of corporal punishment, teaching in mixed ability groups, pastoral care in tutor groups, sex equality and maintaining close relationships with feeder primary schools and parishes, as well as local industries.

In his personal life Mr Smith was a keen walker and wild-life enthusiast.

In earlier life he had completed climbs in Wales, Yorkshire and the Lake District then later in life spent many happy hours in Skye.

Just before retirement and afterwards he became a good skier travelling to France, Italy, Switzerland, USA, and Spain. One of his greatest joys was receiving his free pass to the ski-lifts after his 75th birthday which he continued to use until after his 85th birthday!

He was diagnosed with liver cancer last year and is survived by Frances, his second wife of 20 years, and his family of five children, ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, from his marriage of 37 years with his first wife, Margaret, who died in 1991, from bowel cancer.

Donations, if desired, to Macmillan Cancer Support.