Former teacher, singer and Samaritan dies aged 86

Alan Harries, a former teacher at Manor and All Saints' schools
Alan Harries, a former teacher at Manor and All Saints' schools

An inspirational English teacher who worked in Mansfield schools for many years and sang in the town choir has died at the age of 86.

Alan Harries taught thousands of boys and girls at schools in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire during a career spanning 30 years.

He died of heart failure at a Forest Town nursing home on March 19.

His daughter Sarah Habermass, who lives in Newark, said: “He loved teaching and inspired many a pupil. Countless people from all walks of life described Dad as a ‘true gentleman’.

“Right up to his last days, it would be hard to find a kinder, gentler and more loving man with integrity, a fantastically cheeky sense of humour and a fine intellect.”

Born in Whitland, Carmarthenshire, he won a scholarship to study humanities at University College of Swansea.

Alan was appointed head of English at the newly-built Manor School, Mansfield in 1960.

Seven years later, he moved to Eastwood as head of English and master in charge of sixth-form boys at Hall Park Technical Grammar School.

He returned to Mansfield, where he and his family had settled, and All Saints’ Secondary School, in 1974 and retired ten years later.

He enjoyed singing as a member of Mansfield Male Voice Choir and also volunteered with the local branch of the Samaritans.

An avid reader, who loved walks with family and friends and tending his garden, he was also a keen sportsman in his younger days, representing his county at athletics and playing rugby for Kibworth.

As well as Sarah, he is survived by sons Simon, who lives in Dallas, Texas, Nicholas of Sutton-in-Ashfield, and grandchildren Fred, Jack, George, Felicity, Daniel, Rebecca and Anna.