TRIBUTES have been paid to a former headteacher whose vision and determination saw Outwood Grange become one of the biggest schools in the country.
John L Snowdon, 79, was the first headteacher at the school when it was formed in 1972, bringing together Outwood and Stanley secondary schools.
He was also a lay preacher on the Wakefield Methodist church circuit for more than 50 years.
He died at Pinderfields Hospital on Friday after a short illness.
His widow, Irene, 77, of Marriott Grove, Walton, said: "Starting up Outwood Grange was such a challenge but he loved every minute. He was a very caring headmaster and would make sure he taught every child in the school. The ethos he created at the school still exists today."
One of seven children, Mr Snowdon was born in Islington but moved to a children's home in Cheshire after his mother died when he was six.
He went to a local grammar school before leaving home at 18 to study teaching at Westminster College, London. It was there that he met his wife, who he married in 1957. They went on to have three children Roger, 50, Clive, 46, and Clare, 43.
The family came to Wakefield in 1968 when Mr Snowdon took up his first headship at Ossett Secondary School.
After a teaching job in Darlington he returned to Wakefield, and took a post at Outwood Grange. It grew to be one of the biggest schools in the country.
Last year he was invited back to Outwood Grange to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Outwood Secondary School. Mrs Snowdon said: "Making the speech was a very proud moment for him. He had notes but when he got on stage he just stuffed them in his pocket and did it from his heart. It was a wonderful moment."
Pam Buckingham, Outwood Grange College vice-principal, who was appointed by Mr Snowdon, said: "John was a gentleman and a very popular headteacher. He was determined and knew where he wanted the school to go and people have built on his legacy. He will be sadly missed."
A funeral service will be held today, Friday, April 11, at Sandal methodist Church at 2.15pm.