Family tribute to ‘gentle soul’

RESPECTED: Mr Tom Chaffer (S)
RESPECTED: Mr Tom Chaffer (S)

A RETIRED teacher whose memories of bygone Burnley were recounted in the Burnley Express has died aged 76.

Mr Tom Chaffer spent 33 years as a geography teacher at Towneley High School and an evening economics lecturer at Burnley College.

He was well-known in Burnley, not least during his retirement when he wrote a series of features for the Express about his memories growing up in the Accrington Road area of Burnley and his time at the former Wood Top School. His vivid memory brought the area back to life for many readers.

Married to Mary, the couple had two children, Christopher (45) and Richard (36).

Mr Chaffer was brought up in a grocer’s and off-licence shop which once stood at 198 Accrington Road. The son of Chris and Hilda Chaffer, he went on to study at Burnley Grammar School before Leeds and Leicester Universities.

Richard said: “Dad was a very gentle man, you could say a gentleman of the old school. He enjoyed teaching and during his retirement spent a lot of time drawing.

“He would go in the Ighten Leigh Club and observe the people and musicians in there and draw them. He loved characters. I think that’s why he enjoyed reminiscing about his childhood.

“He also enjoyed geology, reading, making scrapbooks, learning foreign languages and telling jokes.”

Mr Chaffer was joint secretary at Burnley Probus Club for six years.

His love of art obviously passed on to his children – Richard is a full-time artist and Christopher is a graphic designer.

Richard added: “I am currently setting up a website www.thomaschaffer.co.uk so I can upload some of his drawings as a tribute.”

Mr Chaffer’s funeral will be held at noon on New Year’s Eve at St Peter’s Church, Burnley, followed by burial at Burnley Cemetery.