Former Burnley headteacher (77) dies

David Clayton (s)
David Clayton (s)

A devoted former Burnley headteacher, who inspired generations of young people by encouraging them to go to university during a career spanning decades, has died.

Mr David Clayton (77) died in the early hours of Friday after battling ill health for several months.

Mr Clayton, who was born in Horwich, near Bolton, graduated from Merton College at Oxford with a degree in history.

After beginning his teaching career at Hayward Grammar School in Bolton, he came to Burnley in 1965.

He was headteacher at Habergham High School for 17 years and before that was deputy head at Burnley Grammar School. A keen Clarets fan and one time season ticket holder, he retired in 2001, leaving more time to dedicate to his many hobbies, which included sailing, steam engines, singing, history, mountain biking, writing and gardening.

He was also president of Burnley Grammar School Old Boys’ Cricket Club and a Rotarian.

Two years ago Mr Clayton, who lived in Brinscall, near Chorley, appeared on BBC’s “Countryfile” programme talking about his book “Lost Farms of Brinscall Moors,” which was published in 2011.

He had spent two years researching and writing his book which uncovered the story of how the community living on the hills and moors above Brinscall abandoned their homes in the early 20th Century.

He led scores of people on walks around the ruins of the abandoned farms and also gave many talks about his book around the county after its publication.

Until recently he was president of the Bolton branch of the Historical Association and had been chairman for many years. He was also a talented singer and was a member and former chairman of the Brixi Singers chamber choir and a Rivington Music Society committee member.

He was a keen walker, both in the UK and Europe and had walked all 214 Wainwright fells in Cumbria.

Mr Clayton also wrote “Britain and the Eastern question: Missolonghi to Gallipoli” and a history of the early years of Hayward Grammar School.

Arrangements for his funeral have yet to be made.