TRIBUTES have been paid to a dedicated teacher who taught English at a college for more than a generation.
John Sumner devoted 36 years to teaching at Sir John Deane's College and was respected and admired by both students and colleagues. He died following a battle with cancer, aged 67.
Mr Sumner was born in Preston and was a lifelong fan of Preston North End. He was coached by Australian legends Bill Alley, Bruce Doo-land, George Tribe and Colin McCool at cricket and passed on his knowledge to Cheshire schoolboys as a county coach, nurturing county players John Morris and Neil Fair-brother. He was also a member of Hartford and Davenham cricket clubs.
He leaves a wife, Joyce, two children, Andrew and Karen, and seven grandchildren. His son, Andrew, is now assistant principal at the college.
Colleagues paid tribute to a 'quiet man' who enjoyed his work and was a keen and talented local sportsman.
Mike Frost, head of economics and business studies at the Northwich college, first met John in 1982.
He said: 'He was somewhat shy and undemonstrative - not at all the archetypal teacher of English.
'He wasn't particularly easy to get to know, but I found it was certainly worth making the effort. He always expressed himself in a measured way, ensuring he didn't waste words and never hurrying into making comments, as many of us do, only to regret them later.
'In the classroom John was the consummate professional, meticulous in his analysis of written work and never less than considerate and supportive to generations of students.'
Tony Dunn, who also worked with Mr Sumner, said: 'John was an enormously patient man, with tremendous goodwill, who not only enjoyed teaching the bright kids but was also particularly good at working with students within the lessable ability range.
'He was one of those blokes who went in, in his own time, and put in the extra work that makes a difference. He had a real devotion to cricket, he was amusing and entertaining, and a great participant.'
Former headmaster Doug Lucas said: 'John represents the link with the long-standing tradition at the college of staff who work hard and do an excellent job, quietly. He also worked very hard within cricket for the college and the county.'