TRIBUTES have been paid to the first ever head of Greenfylde School, Kenneth Rawlings, who held the post for nearly 20 years.

The ‘loyal and dedicated’ headteacher died last month at the age of 89, and will be remembered fondly by any Ilminster residents.

Ken was born in Yeovil on July 29, 1930, and went to St Luke’s teacher training college in Exeter.

His first Ilminster post was as the headteacher of North Street Primary School, where he helped prepare the move to the Old Boy’s School, site of the brand new Greenfylde School, in 1972.

One teacher who worked with Ken for much of his time at Greenfylde said: “Ken was a well respected head, who was committed to staff, children and the Ilminster community alike.

“Ken never missed a day of school. If the roads were covered in ice or snow, he walked from Shepton Beauchamp.”

As well as teaching, Ken was known for his love of music, often taking the school choir into local care homes and churches.

Claire Oaten, the current headteacher at Greenfylde School said: “Ken Rawlings was a well loved figure within the Greenfylde School community.

“He was a very child centred person who expected staff to do the best for the children in their care so they were happy, secure and learning well.

“Many existing families have relatives who remember Mr Rawlings and can bring their own special memories of his time at the school, especially in relation to his love of music and I know his loss is felt by the whole Greenfylde community.”

Ken also gained a reputation as a teacher with ‘eyes in the back of his head’, often spotting pupils misconduct from his position at the church organ.

However, a colleague revealed his trade secret - he had a mirror in front of him.

They added: “Ken was a man with a big heart, a lively sense of humour, and a smile to light up any room.”

Mr Rawlings retired in 1991, with 19 years at Greenfylde and even longer in Ilminster.

Ken was sad to say goodbye to Greenfylde, but on retirement enjoyed another of his great loves - golf at the Windwhistle Club.

He was also able to spend more time with his dear wife, Daphne, who he was married to for more than 50 years.

Kenneth John Rawlings passed away on September 13.

His colleague added: “Farewell Ken, a true gentleman.

“A loyal and dedicated headmaster who touched the hearts and minds of many Ilminster residents and successfully began a new era for Greenfylde School.”