Tribute to ex schools chief

Don Harrison
Don Harrison

A FATHER-OF-FIVE who was instrumental in establishing a number of Scarborough schools has died aged 81.

Don Harrison was also the co-founder of the Rotary Club of Scarborough Cavaliers, for which he also served as president.

Mr Harrison had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Born in Boosbeck, Redcar, he attended Durham University where he played football and cricket.

During his university days he was wicketkeeper for future England cricket international Frank Tyson, known as “Typhoon” Tyson, who is considered by many commentators to be one of the fastest bowlers ever.

One of Mr Harrison’s three daughters, Philippa Fortescue, a civil servant who lives in Dorchester, said: “Dad had most of his knuckles broken playing cricket.

“He was very much into sport but cricket was his real love, which all four of his grandsons have gone on to play.”

Mr Harrison trained to be a teacher and went to teach in France for a year.

He came to Scarborough in 1969 from Barnsley, where he had served as the senior education officer for further education.

After being the divisional education officer in Scarborough for five years, Mr Harrison became the area education officer, with an office in Huntriss Row.

Mrs Fortescue said: “He looked after schools in Scarborough, Whitby and the North Riding. He set up a lot of schools that weren’t in existence. He was involved in the expansion out at Scalby and fought for it at Pindar.

“He was good fun and always took the maximum amount of time to tell a story - he told some dreadful jokes! But he was a charming, extremely polite, old-fashioned English gentleman.”

Following his retirement in 1990, he told the Evening News: “There have been many changes in the years I have been in education such as the reorganisation of the secondary education in 1972.”

A member of North Cliff Golf Club and later Ganton Golf Club, Mr Harrison was a founder member of the Rotary Club of Scarborough Cavaliers and a member of the Scarborough Round Table 88.

A grandfather-of-six, Mr Harrison, who was married twice, has three daughters from his first marriage - Philippa, Nicola Harrison, of Uxbridge, and Julia Cole, of Hampton, London.

He is also survived by two young sons, Ashley, 22, who has followed in his father’s footsteps by studying at Durham, and Bath University student Neville, 20.