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I started as a pupil and stayed for 50 years.


TEACHER is retiring after half a century at Liverpool College as both a pupil and a member of staff.

Ian Lightbody, 61, went to the school as a boarder at 11 years old when his parents moved from Wirral to Yorkshire.

With only a brief period away from the Queens Drive school to complete teacher training, he returned at his old headmaster's request as a member of staff.

Mr Lightbody said: ``I didn't originally intend to be a teacher and I certainly didn't expect to be here for 50 years.

``I had got a place at the school and then my parents had to move to Yorkshire with my father's job. It was decided I should stay and be a boarder.

``When I left school, I was planning to go to Manchester to study engineering but took a gap year and worked for the BBC working on shows like the Black and White Minstrels.

``I was a cable coiler extraordinaire but realised that I didn't want to study engineering, something like teaching was more preferable. ''

So, after three years of training at St John's College in York, he went to a job interview with a school in Yorkshire.

But in the meantime, Liverpool College had written to him offering him a job which he had refused.

Mr Lightbody said: ``Then by return of post they wrote again and offered me a house master position, seven days a week, which I took.

``Every few years I was moved to a different post or given new responsibilities so I've never been bored and have not wanted to leave.

'' Well-known pupils that the father of two has taught have included renowned figures such as conductor Sir Simon Rattle and Henry Globe QC plus several barristers who are still working in Liverpool.

Mr Lightbody taught Latin to lawyer Sir Brian Leveson, who, as Mr Justice Leveson, most recently presided over the case of Bernard Heginbotham, the 100-year-old man who killed his elderly sick wife.

Richard Stilgoe who was on the team that wrote the musical Starlight Express was also one of Mr Lightbody's pupils.

In 1980 as a bachelor, Mr Lightbody became a house master of the senior boarding house which he says was an 18-hour-a-day job and he emerged after 10 years when the school stopped taking boarders and after marrying his wife, Charlotte, and having two children, Tom, now 18, and Helena, now 15.

He has taught a variety of subjects, mainly physics and maths, but in the last four years, has taken over the role of school bursar.

Mr Lightbody remembered: ``When I was at school, science wasn' t compulsory and of course it's only recently that IT and computing has been introduced, so I went on a course in the 1970s and began to teach that as well. ``The school is about 200 pupils bigger since I joined, and of course it is no longer all-boys, we accept girls as well now.

``And the lamps outside the school a reno longer lit with gas, that's another change in the last 50 years. ''

He was presented with a digital camera to see him through his retirement which he will begin in Nantwich, Cheshire, from Monday when he moves house.


Ian Lightbody as a student; Ian Lightbody making his retirement speech yesterday Picture: MARTIN BIRCHALL
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 10, 2004
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