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Big send-off for Loddon teacher

PUBLISHED: 16:30 20 March 2008 | UPDATED: 07:17 01 August 2010

LODDON deputy head Allan Healey was given a stylish send-off today as he retired after 22 years at Hobart High School.

He arrived for his last day by horse and carriage - something he had been entirely unaware of until then, having asked for a low-key retirement.

LODDON deputy head Allan Healey was given a stylish send-off today as he retired after 22 years at Hobart High School.

He arrived for his last day by horse and carriage - something he had been entirely unaware of until then, having asked for a low-key retirement. And he was welcomed into the grounds by the applause of all 800 pupils and staff who had gathered outside.

Mr Healey said he had become slightly suspicious when he was offered a lift into school by head John Robson but was told to wait for him at Rosie Lee's Tearoom in Bridge Street, which had opened half-an-hour early for the occasion.

“I've been seriously caught out in the nicest way possible,” said Mr Healey, 59, who arrived at the school as deputy head in January 1986.

“I thought that there might be something up but not in the way I expected. It was better than a white-knuckle ride!”

The ride into school continued a Hobart transporting tradition for retiring teachers which saw ex-deputy head Shelagh Johnson being driven to school in a Lotus loaned by the factory at Hethel. This time around the lift was provided by Walter and Sylvia Frost, of Hales, the latter of whom drove the carriage for the journey.

Mr Healey, who also taught English, first arrived at Hobart from a school in south London. Since then he has helped the school move from strength to strength, culminating in a fantastic value-added performance in February in which it was rated at number 38 in the country. “What a time to leave!” he said. “I'm certainly leaving on a high.

“It is a top-performing school and it is a tribute to all the people who work here. But the strength of the manage-ment team and governors is one of the key forces behind the school. It's the side that people don't see, but they're incredibly important.”

Mr Healey plans to travel after he has had a bit of time to “chill out”, starting with a trip to Canada and then France and Germany. He then plans to concentrate on playing the organ, a passion which had fallen by the wayside during his teaching career, and he believes he needs years of practice to achieve the standard of playing he enjoyed when younger.

He said he would have many wonderful memories of the school.

“If you pick up one or two memories you leave out others. But there have been some incredible sporting moments because you get to see teamwork and it tells you a lot about the person. And some music and drama performances have left audiences entranced,” he said.

Colleagues praised Mr Healey's contribution to the school. Graham King, assistant head and teacher of English, said that “you cannot over state his contribution to this school”, and Mr Robson said he would be sadly missed.

He added:“He's made my headship easier than it might have been. He been an absolute professional when dealing with every member of this community to ensure we provide the best possible education for everyone. He deserves a long and hearty retirement.”

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