In class and head down, listening for those highly polished squeaky crepe soled shoes which patrolled the classroom ensuring the wearer that we were all working, well I was most of the time because to fail could be painful. The wearer being Llewellyn Pritchard, teacher at Mickletown School. He must have been successful in teaching over the years because he was awarded an MBE for services to education in 1976.
Students over those years, like me, would have benefitted from his encouragement to take part in all sports along with his measured stance on school discipline and the pursuit of academic success pre-eleven plus. Lew started teaching at Mickletown Board School in 1948 and on rationalisation of local schools was transferred to Royds HS. Further posts were headships at Orchard Head in Pontefract and Ninelands Lane at Garforth – both schools being newly established. He was later sought to lecture on education which included engagements abroad.
After serving in the army from 1939 where he was attached to the Royal Engineers and served with the Desert Rats in North Africa Lew majored in teaching at Lancaster College during which time he turned out for Vale of Lune RUFC.
The family had earlier lived at Shann House cottage, coincidentally the place where now is nephew is undertaking major refurbishments. From here he went on to Castleford Grammar School before army service and college.
He later was to pursue a successful stint along with Arthur Wright as Councillor on Rothwell UDC representing Methley on all matters of local importance. Introduction to this came through his membership of the Methley Labour Party (if you wanted to represent the village in any way in those days then that was the route).
Lew was a big player in the Castleford Rugby Union club. He was elected as club captain in those early years after the war 1949 to 1951, his future in the game brought to a halt by injury. Not deterred his involvement continued becoming Hon. Secretary and playing a different role in the future of the club. He it was, who along with a small group took the club out of its nomadic existence in the early fifties and purchased the grounds and former prisoner of war hutments at Pinfold Lane, Methley which was to become the envy of many of the junior rugby union clubs in the area. Witness also his motivational skills with other members and villagers alike in converting that prison accommodation into acceptable changing and clubhouse facilities. Who can forget marking out the touch lines using sawdust from the school woodwork class, by hand – not me.
I came across Lew again at a photo session at Castleford Rugby Union Club after he had moved to Kippax. I was pleased to see that he was remarkably keen to learn of developments and of people in the village of Methley.