Celebrating life of inspirational Mirfield schoolteacher Roger

Tribute has been paid to Roger Holdsworth, who taught in Mirfield schools and played a major role in his community
Tribute has been paid to Roger Holdsworth, who taught in Mirfield schools and played a major role in his community

More than 350 people attended Dewsbury Minster on January 31 to celebrate the life of Roger Holdsworth, who taught at Wellhouse Middle School and Crossley Fields Junior and Infants’ School, both at Mirfield, for over three decades.

Parents and pupils remember him as an inspirational teacher who challenged the most able children whilst coaxing and encouraging the more timid to develop confidence and give of their best. This was not only in science and maths, his specialist subjects, but also in music, inspiring hundreds of pupils to perform to a very high standard in school productions. Many joined a choir or were prompted to play an instrument with his encouragement.

Born in Bradford, Roger, who was 73, attended Grange Grammar School and first taught at East Bierley. His adventurous spirit led him to apply for teaching jobs abroad and shortly after marrying, he and his wife, Helen, went to the Bahamas on a three-year contract. With no mains electricity and a well in the garden for water, Roger put to good use resourcefulness and skills learned as a Boy Scout.

His enthusiasm for fixing broken equipment never waned and during his retirement he served the community of Dewsbury Moor by keeping the graveyard at St Johns in good order, and maintaining grass-cutting machinery. He also played the piano at church services and indulged his passion for music by attending orchestral concerts in Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Leeds Town Halls, as well as Opera at Leeds Grand Theatre. Soon after retiring, Roger joined Dewsbury and District U3A and became tutor for the Music Appreciation Group, a position he held for 12 years. He became a committee member and served as treasurer for this organisation, and more recently he organised the programme for the walking group.

Wanting to remain active he joined the Dewsbury and District Ramblers and also the OWLS, a group for the over fifties at Dewsbury Sports Centre, where he developed a passion for badminton and volleyball.

A keen photographer, he was one-time President of the Dewsbury and District Photographic Society and helped to reinvigorate an organisation which is still flourishing as Dewsbury Photographic Group. After serving as President of the Dewsbury Arts Group in 1995, Roger became their official photographer and documented all of their productions for nearly 13 years.

He and his wife travelled extensively and often visited their daughter, Rachel, and her family in the USA. His son Andrew, a musician, arranged the musical tributes at the service. He will be sadly missed by Helen, Andrew and Eva, Rachel and Jason and grandchildren Ethan, Arianna, Joseph and George.