Respected English teacher dies (72)

Bernard Langstaffe

Bernard Langstaffe

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A teacher who inspired generations of students has died at the age of 72.

Mr James Bernard Langstaffe spent his entire career at the former St Theodore’s and St Hilda’s RC high schools in Burnley where he became highly respected for his strict teaching style and boundless passion for his subject, English.

After graduating from the former De La Salle Teacher Training College in Middleton in 1964 Mr Langstaffe began his career at St Theodore’s where he taught English and Religious Education. In 1978 he was appointed Head of the English department at St Hilda’s where he stayed until taking early retirement in 1993.

A former chess champion who played for England, Mr Langstaffe was an acknowledged expert on Latin.

A strict disciplinarian who would accept nothing less than 100 per cent effort from each of his students, many of them have paid heartfelt tributes on social media to the teacher affectionately known as “Barney”.

Former student Sue Plunkett said: “Mr Langstaffe was one of those teachers who knew and loved his subject inside out but he also had the gift to pass on that love and knowledge to others whatever their ability.

“He inspired so many pupils to believe in themselves and work hard to achieve their goals and that will be his legacy.”

Mr Langstaffe loved relaxing with a pint and was also a keen follower of cricket and the Clarets and until recent years he attended all the home games. He also loved the theatre and reading and his home was filled with up to 5,000 books and he had read every one.

Born and bred in Rawtenstall, Mr Langstaffe’s funeral was held at the town’s St James the Less Church where he was a regular worshipper. The service, which he had planned himself, was attended by several former colleagues and students. Mr Langstaffe leaves a brother, John, and two nephews.