Fond memories have been shared of an ex-teacher who worked at Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy for more than 20 years.

Peter Statham, who was Head of Biology between 1970 and 1993, recently passed away aged 83.

His career started at Picardy Boys School in Kent before he relocated to Derby in 1965, teaching at John Port School in Etwall.

In 1970 he was appointed Head of Biology at St Ralph Sherwin School before it later became Saint Benedict.

Mr Statham also ran Woodlands Youth Club in Allestree in the 1970s and ‘80s and after retiring from teaching he carried on volunteering with the Scouts, the Church and the Young Offenders programme.

He leaves Margaret, his wife of 59 years, two sons and a daughter and six grandchildren. A date is set to be arranged for a Thanksgiving Service and life celebration.

Mr Statham’s son Phil said his dad enjoyed his time at Saint Benedict and that there had been many kind comments on a memorial page set up on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/peterstathammemorial/)

He said: “He enjoyed his teaching career and when you look at some of the comments that ex-pupils have made on his memorial page you can see the kind of respect people had for him. You only get that when it’s a two-way street. There are a lot of great anecdotes on there. When his grandchildren were out with him they always used to say that they couldn’t go anywhere without someone from school or youth club stopping him to chat.”

Mrs Vause, Director of Learning for Science at Saint Benedict CVA, which is part of the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust, was taught by Mr Statham and also worked with him.

She said: “Pete taught me for both my Biology O-level and A-level. When I returned to teach at Saint Benedict, I taught alongside him within the Science dept, in particular in teaching A level Biology. Pete’s enthusiasm for Biology was infectious. Lessons were brought to life by his story-telling and knowledge of natural history.  The lab cupboards were full of jars of various biological specimens, including his own appendix.  I am afraid I chose not to keep most of them! All of those who were taught by him or alongside him will remember Pete as a very kind man; always seeing the best in people, encouraging and generous with his time.”

Ex-student James Allen said Mr Statham was well liked among students.

He said: “I was very sad to hear about Mr Statham’s death. I have got good memories of his Biology lessons in the South Block labs. He was a very enthusiastic and passionate teacher and always got his point across in a good humoured way. You could have a bit of a laugh with him but he made sure you stayed on track. He made Science enjoyable.”