Inspirational Towneley teacher dies

Bill Hatley
Bill Hatley

POLYMATH Bill Hartley, known for his long association with Burnley Alliance Silver Band and for being an innovative teacher at Towneley and an ambassador for Swiss tourism, has died aged 83.

Mr Hartley, who lived in Worsthorne in a Swiss chalet-styled house he designed and built, left Burnley Grammar School at 13 when his family told him he should get a job.

He began his working life as a joiner but continued his education at night school and became a teacher at Towneley Secondary Modern School, specialising in physics and sciences, and later became head of careers.

During his time at Towneley he began taking school parties to Interlaken so pupils could have the same benefits of travel as his own children. The trips grew in popularity every year, attracting families and friends, and eventually the Interlaken area became such a favourite destination for so many Burnley people that in 1991, Mr Hartley was presented with a Golden Key honour from the city for his services to tourism.

At school he also wanted to encourage pupils to take up and enjoy music, so he set up a tuck shop to raise cash to buy instruments. Mr Hartley retired from teaching in his mid 50s and devoted much of his time to music and travel. He received a long-service award from Burnley Alliance Silver Band, in which he played bass trombone for more than 50 years and was also secretary for many years.

Mr Hartley leaves his wife, Edna, the former head of Todmorden Road Infant School. The couple celebrated their golden wedding in March. He also leaves two children, Kathryn and Michael, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

His funeral took place on Wednesday at St John’s Church, Worsthorne. Mr Hartley’s family asked for donations for the North West Air Ambulance in his memory.