Son’s tribute to special and much loved former teacher

Former teacher Norman Lilley has died aged 87
Former teacher Norman Lilley has died aged 87

A former Thame teacher who taught generations of families for more than 30 years has died.

Norman Lilley, 87, taught everything from Spanish to maths in his career at Lord Williams’s School, but his main passion was physics.

The popular pensioner was revered in the town and his son Martin said he will be sorely missed after passing away on January 9.

“He always had time for everybody,” he said.

“There was never a dull moment. When I came home it would not be unusual to find ex-pupils coming back with their sons and daughters for tea with my dad.

“He had such an influence on his students without a shadow of a doubt.

“Just with the number of generations going through the school.”

The teacher died at Stoke Mandeville Hospital after a short bout of illness.

Martin said: “He picked up a bug and had a bit of a tumble and just never sort of recovered.

“I have to say, though, Stoke Mandeville Hospital were outstanding in everything they did.”

Martin said he and his brothers, Stephen and David, were even taught by their father, who also spent more than 50 years as a lay preacher.

A well known member of the Thame community it is expected Norman’s memorial service today (Friday) at St Mary’s Church, Thame, (2pm) will be attended by more than 200 people.

Martin added: “I drove up here last night (Tuesday) and there must be at least 150 cards to go through with my brothers at some point.

“And God knows how many letters. A lot of them are people I don’t even know.”

The physics teacher was also admired by his pupils and staff at the school.

Lord Williams’s headteacher David Wybron said: “Norman was a lovely man and to spend time in his company was always a pleasure. He had a gentleness and sincerity that marked him out as a very special person.

“I looked forward to our conversations because he was always so interested in the ongoing work of the school.

“Along with so many fortunate to have known him, I will miss the warmth of his personality and his great humour.”