Crawley headteacher dies, aged 87

David Eynon SUS-150216-163351001
David Eynon SUS-150216-163351001

One of the first headteachers to take charge of education for children in Bewbush has died.

David Eynon, 87, who ran Bewbush Middle School while still in the top job at West Green Middle School, died at St Catherine’s Hospice on January 30.

His wife, Sheila, described David as a strong, gentle, private man who dedicated his life to education and shared her love of painting. The couple met in 1952, when Sheila was 17. They married in 1954 and had one son, Mike.

When David came out of the Army, he earned a first-class degree before teaching at schools in Eton, Slough and Langley and earning his first headship in Pulborough. The family moved to Crawley and he took the reins at West Green Middle School in 1968.

Immensely proud of all her husband had achieved, Sheila described how he was still working at West Green Middle School when Bewbush Middle School opened in 1982. She said: “He had to be at West Green in the morning and Bewbush in the afternoon.”

While his dedication to mainstream education was clear for all to see, David was also a supporter of special education. He and Sheila had been associated with the Farney Close special school, in Bolney, for 55 years.

Outside of school life, Sheila said David played the piano “beautifully”. He was self-taught and Sheila added: “He had some lessons but couldn’t get on with them so got some books and taught himself.”

The couple were members of the Sussex Trust and the RSPB and enjoyed walking.

But it was their love of painting which gave them some of their most peaceful, memorable moments.

They would head off on holiday – often to Wales – to capture some of the idyllic scenes and landscapes. He would paint with oils while she preferred water colours and, once the holiday was over, they would continue to work from the snapshots taken at the time.

One of David’s paintings of Talgarth, in the Brecon Beacons, still hangs on the landing at the Eynons’ home, in Tilgate.

It bears the scars of having something dropped on it from the loft but serves as a lasting reminder to Sheila of what a talented man her husband was.

Having suffered from cancer for six years and Alzheimer’s for 11, David spent five weeks in hospital towards the end of his life before being moved to St Catherine’s Hospice.

Sheila described the heartbreak of watching her vibrant, intelligent husband gradually lose the ability to remember things clearly.

She said: “I would say to him ‘just you let me do the remembering and you concentrate on getting better’.”

Looking back on her marriage with David, Sheila poignantly recalled how the couple had grown closer and closer as the years passed. She added: “We really just fell in love all over again. I can’t believe that he’s gone.”