Inspirational teacher Alan dies (94)

Alan Magnall
Alan Magnall

A life-long Clarets fan and respected Burnley teacher who inspired generations of Burnley children has died at the age of 94.

Mr Alan Magnall died last weekend after battling chest problems.

For many years Mr Magnall was an enthusiastic player and long-serving chairman in Burnley Table Tennis League, he also enjoyed parks tennis, crown green bowling and snooker.

His friends said he would be remembered most as a “marvellous motivator.”

After serving in the RAF, Mr Magnall trained as a teacher and was appointed to Rosegrove Junior and Infant School in November 1949. Drawing on the experiences of his own school days, Mr Magnall recognised that the teachers he had respected had been those who were fair in their dealings with pupils and resolved to be the same. Friends said it was this empathy with his pupils was the key that unlocked for him the “highly satisfying career” that was to follow. His two loves, teaching and sport, began to merge with great effect.

The pinnacle came when Mr Magnall taught at Burnley Wood School. After practising with a sheet of plywood resting on desks, under his guidance, the boys he taught went on to take national table tennis by storm, becoming under 16 English Schools Champions for three consecutive years, a run that only came to an end when the school closed.

Daughter Joyce Egar said: “These amazing feats followed on from the era when Jimmy McIlroy and co performed magic on a weekly basis and Keogh, Livesey and Hartshorn punched way above their weight for Burnley at table tennis.

“Burnley Wood, fuelled by unparalleled team spirit and belief were keeping the Burnley flag flying in style.

“When Alan received the verdict that the chest problems he was encountering were not curable, he accepted the situation and dealt with it with total dignity. With no sign of despondency he looked back fondly, expressed gratitude for his long and happy life.”