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Tributes pour in for St Peter's headteacher Lawrence Montagu, who died on Friday

By CitizenNews  |  Posted: April 07, 2013

  • Floral tributes for Lawrence Montagu have been left outside St Peter's High School in Gloucester

  • Lawrence Montagu, headteacher at St Peter's High School, has died

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Tributes have poured in for the much-loved head teacher of St Peter's High School in Tuffley, who has died after a long illness.

The school announced that Lawrence Montagu passed away on Friday evening. 

Floral tributes have been left outside the school over the weekend, with many bouquets of flowers surrounding a picture of Mr Montagu.

Matson RFC youth team held a minute's silence to show their respect for Mr Montagu this morning.

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On behalf of the Montagu family, son Keiran, who is also a staff member at St Peter's, said: "We would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for all their support, prayers and tributes during this time."

Steven Munnoch, a former pupil who is now CEO of Avon Metals in Gloucester, said: "Having lost my own father in 2009, I know firsthand the pain his family must be feeling. Farewell and thank you Mr. M - a truly fantastic human being. You will be deeply missed."

In a statement, vice principal and business manager at the school Steve Lester said: "Your prayers are requested for the repose of his soul and for the comfort of his family." 

Mr Montagu had announced he was stepping down from the role of headteacher and it was revealed last month that his deputy Philip Rush would take the helm from September. 

He will become just the fourth headteacher in the school's 49-year history.

Chairman of the school's governors Jim Stenson said: "Lawrence (or Larry as he was known by his colleagues) Montagu gave half of his life in building St Peter's High School into the outstanding Catholic school that it now is. His legacy is a school community in which every individual is valued and respected and can grow to achieve their full potential.

"He is much loved, and will be missed by, all students, parents, staff and governors. Generations of students will continue to hold him in the highest esteem and will thank him as the chief architect of the great education that they received from the school.

"Our thoughts and prayers at this sad time go out to his wife Isobel and to his sons Paul and Keiran. They have been a huge support and strength to Larry throughout his illness but will now be feeling his loss hugely. They were with him as he died peacefully on Friday evening.

"St Peter's is aware of the very great respect and love in which Larry was held by so many people in Gloucestershire and beyond and that there is significant interest in some form of lasting memorial to him. We will be discussing with his family what form this may take and will announce details in due course."

Gloucestershire County Council leader Mark Hawthorne is a former pupil. He said: "I first met Larry when I joined St Peter's age 11. Any former pupil will remember his famous speech to all those starting where he would click his fingers and say 'the next five years will go like this'.

"He was a true inspiration to all those who went to st peters and always encouraged people to pursue whatever dreams they had. Personally, without him, I wouldn't be in politics today."

Rugby player Ryan Lamb attended St Peter's School and this morning he tweeted: "Gutted to hear my old head teacher has passed away recently. An amazing bloke, that really supported his students. Will be sorely missed!"

Gloucester's Jamie McDonald, who is currently running unsupported across Canada to raise money for charity, tweeted his tribute to his tribute to his former headteacher. He said: "My headmaster, a good friend, who inspired me and so many others, has sadly passed away. Rest in peace Larry Montagu."

On behalf of the Roman Catholic community of Gloucester, Canon Liam Slattery said: "It is with a deep sense of sorrow that we have learnt of the death of Mr Lawrence Montagu. We share something of the loss felt by Larry's wife Isobel, his sons Paul and Kieran, his family, his colleaguesand pupils past and present of St Peter's Catholic High School, and his many many friends.

"The care of Larry experienced by his family in his devotion to them, extended to all who knew him within the community of St Peter's Catholic High School, within the catholic community of Gloucester and indeed within the wider community. Larry had a strong Catholic faith, of which he was so proud.

"We extend our sincere sympathy and the loving support of our prayer and friendship to Isobel, Paul, Kieran and all Larry's family and friends. May he rest in peace."

Barbara Biddle's father John Parkinson was Mr Montagu's predecessor at St Peter's. He retired in 1984. She emailed The Citizen to express her sadness at the news of Mr Montagu's death. She said: "Larry worked so hard, helping and guiding our children through their teenage years, preparing them for adulthood. He never judged, only ever encouraged our children to work to the best of their abilities and always to believe in themselves."

Laura Fields, who was a St Peter's pupil from 1996 to 2001, said: "Not many secondary school head teachers can gain and maintain the respect of 100% of their pupils, staff and parents 100% of the time, year after year. With the ethos he created, we have developed the values, morals and principles to live our lives by. He has played a huge part in making me the person I am today and I am so thankful for that."

Former colleague Sister Brenda Schofield, who taught at St Peter's for 17 years, said: "He was a great friend, and always found time to talk whenever I went back to see him. I shall remember his great laugh for as long as I live – it was so much part of his personality."

Colleague and friend Neil Eley said: "Larry was an inspiration to thousands of students and colleagues. He convinced me that I could be a senior leader in a school. I saw the difference superb leadership could make. My prayers are with his family and the school community."

Sophie Waite, who was a pupil at St Peter's from 2003 to 2010, said: "Heaven has gained a truly inspirational man, without whom many of us would not be the people that we are today. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Gloucester city councillor Andrew Gravells was a governor at St Peter's. He said: "Larry’s hard work, excellent leadership and sense of direction for the school gave his students the best possible start in life, and all the time he remained a really approachable and down to earth man.

"He had a brilliant sense of humour and of fair play, which served him well in the very demanding work that a head faces on a daily basis."

Former pupil Laura Gummer went to St Peter's from 2001 to 2008. She said: "I knew Larry throughout my time at St Peters and still kept in touch after I left. He was always happy to hear how I was doing and always made time to talk.

"Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Larry would know that his passing is a great loss not only to the school, but to everyone who knew him. My thoughts go out to his family."

Read Citizen editor Ian Mean's tribute to Mr Montagu here.

Send your own tributes to Mr Montagu to citizen.news@glosmedia.co.uk

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30 comments

  • louisebye  |  July 15 2014, 7:54AM

    I was so sad to hear about Mr Montagu's death. He taught at Notre Dame High School in Norwich as well. I was a pupil from 1981 - 1987. I will always remember his boundless energy and enthusiasm. Louise Bye

  • UrsulaA  |  April 09 2013, 8:15PM

    It is with great sadness that I'm writing this. Mr Montagu, as so many have already said, had a massive influence on my enjoyment of school, determination and direction in life. I was one of many students in sixth form on results day back in 1997, mr Montagu caught me furiously flicking through the UCAS book from A - Z to look again at what to do and where to go to university. He took me to his office and pointed at me and said "ursula I know exactly what you'd be great at" and I thought marvellous I'm glad you do because I don't !! My degree and future career was shaped by mr montagu that day as he got straight onto the phone organising a university interview for me. I was eternally grateful, I will never forget his wonderful individual attention to his pupils, his very wise words, his fabulous smile and cracking sense of humour. St. Peter's pupils have three wonderful guardian angels looking over them. Rest in peace mr montagu, mr chesson & miss goble xxxxx

    |   10
  • abcdefghijk3  |  April 09 2013, 4:42PM

    so sad, i was a pupil at ST Peter's from 1984 to 1990 MR Montague was a great headmaster he will be missed by all his pupils present and past rest in peace sir. thought are with his family

    |   6
  • QwertyOS  |  April 08 2013, 9:23AM

    A true gent, who ALWAYS put the welfare of his pupils first, and his professionalism and enthusiasm inspired his teachers. My condolences to his family. Take comfort in the praise from parents and pupils alike.

    |   10
  • emmyjo  |  April 08 2013, 8:40AM

    Really sad to hear this news. He was a fantastic man and a great teacher. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. x

    |   8
  • Scott73  |  April 07 2013, 8:30AM

    Truly gutted. Even after all these years having left St Peters it goes to show what an inspirational person Mr Montagu was that his passing has taken my breath away. Everyone hopes to make a difference in this life, but wow, what a legacy to leave! Thank you for your dedication and hard work in helping shape the person I am today. Rest in peace x

    |   13
  • theravern  |  April 07 2013, 3:18AM

    Ive just heard from an old school friend, what a schock, yet another good teacher and head gone, RIP Mr Montagu, helen radford (kolo) somerset.

    |   6
  • glosresident  |  April 07 2013, 12:34AM

    My Daughter is in year 9 at St Peters , she was already upset that he was retiring but understood why , she is so devastated at Mr Montagu passing , she said but now we cant say goodbye .... how many people can say they actually remember their headteacher let alone be inspired so much by them , he will be so missed by the St Peters community and our thoughts are with his Family , Friends , staff , pupils and anyone who has been inspired by this great man xx

    |   13
  • LeanEales  |  April 06 2013, 10:27PM

    A true gentleman and great headmaster, will be sadly missed by all pupils past and present, so much respect for a man that put everything into making the school successful and such a wonderful place to study. Last memory of him is not long ago in church taking communion with his family, my prayers and thoughts are with them through this difficult time. Mr Montague may you rest in peace, Amen. Heaven has gained an inspirational man.

    |   8
  • wilburv  |  April 06 2013, 10:09PM

    He will be sadly missed by pupils past and present, my thoughts are with his family.

    |   7

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