Dear Dad, You’ll never guess with whom I was chatting the other day. They had such lovely things to say about you.

Dear Dad,

You will never guess with whom I was chatting the other day. Terry Deary!

It all started when a tweet by Bloomsbury Education shared Terry Deary’s new book, ‘The Silver Hand’. This sparked of several memories.

When Hetton school celebrated their centenary we went to visit and met Ivy, who had been your deputy when you were head there. I remember you telling the pupils that you had appointed Terry Deary to the English and Drama department and they were so amazed that an author of so many books had been a teacher at their school. I think the staff felt that too because it was a surprise to them.

You also told of how you used to pick him up every morning to go to school because his wife needed the car. I got in touch with him during that time and he remembered well and commented that in those days families were lucky to have one car. He shared some memories for us to take to the centenary celebrations.

We were in touch again recently as I was aware he had probably not heard that you had died at the ORRsome age of 91.

It was so lovely to hear from him, especially when he said such lovely things about you.

“Dear Rachel

So sad to hear about Geoff’s dying. I remember his kindness and he was the most laid-back head teacher I ever encountered; down to earth, competent and with an underlying sense of humour that made work easier. He gave me a lift from Chester-le-Street from where the cricket ground is today. I do the occasional Park Run across the road from there on a Saturday morning and always remember Geoff when I drive past that spot. I can understand why you still feel his loss.

I gave up working in the schooling system for exactly the same reasons you did. I had a series of books that allowed me to give up the day job and become a full-time writer. My first children’s book was published 40 years ago by A&C Black. That company has now been absorbed by Bloomsbury and I still write for them. My next novel ‘The Silver hand’ is released in May to complement the commemorations of the 1918 Armistice centenary and the book I’m working on now is set in WW2 to be released in time for the 8th anniversary of the start of WW2. So we share a publisher. Best of luck with your part-time Teach First work as well as with your publishing career.

A life well lived and a life well loved, sums it up permanently.

Lovely to hear from you although the circumstances were sad.

Take care


It is quite exciting to share the same publisher. I know your Grandson Jacob thought it made me famous because I had the same publisher as J K Rowling. Made me laugh.

It is equally exciting for me to share with you that Bloomsbury have invited me to write a second book proposal called, ‘How to be an outstanding primary headteacher’. This has been submitted but I have added in the preface my definition of what it means to be outstanding. I felt I wanted to clarify this, especially when our profession is on the receiving end of so much negativity and OFSOD judgements cripple so many.

So, hopefully, this will be included at the beginning of my book:-
“Headship is a demanding and challenging role but one that is incredibly rewarding. The title of the book suggests you will be outstanding with a capital ‘O’. You may have heard the expression, ‘What’s the definition of a farmer? A person standing out in their field.’ So, this is not about you being outstanding but more importantly about having a vision that stands out; dynamic relationships that stand out; effective teams that stand out; partnerships that stand out; creative teaching, learning and assessment that stand out, as well as a drive, enthusiasm and determination to keep developing, maintaining, sustaining and improving practice that stands out.”

My editor and I have also talked about another book for the 100 Ideas series which would have a focus on 100 Ideas for supporting children’s mental health. I shall be writing a book proposal for that shortly.

On another note, next week I shall be saying au revoir to the children I teach two days each week in Stanley. They are such an amazing group of children and I will miss them very much. They even invited me to accompany them to Hall Hill Farm last week. We were frozen, soaked through but had a great day feeding lambs, goats, sheep and handling new born chicks. You would have been in your element talking with them.

The tulips are starting to raise their heads again this year where your ashes are interred. We shall be joining you again with fizz on resurrection Sunday at Easter time. Last year it seemed fitting that nine tulips were flowering as I liked to think they represented each of the nine decades through which you lived. The start to 2018 has been a very cold one and many flowers are behind compared to last year. I did plant two new tulip tubs in the garden for you this year. The names made me think of times we enjoyed together. One variety is called ‘Marguerite’ which is the name of the character in Gounod’s Faust which was the last opera you heard me sing the role of Marguerite. The second variety is called, ‘Champagne Flutes’ and I don’t think they need any explanation. They too are starting to poke their heads out into the fresh air.

It’s snowing again today and Mum and I are going to share some fizz and a homemade curry later on today.

À tout à l’heure, dear Dad.

Miss you.

All my love with an arms round squeeze,

Rachel x