LEONARD (Len) Colvin Newell Hardy, the first head teacher at West Monkton Secondary School, died in Blackpool, Lancashire, on January 3, aged 94.

He was born in Norwich on November 5, 1914.

After his education at the City of Norwich School he went to Downing College, Cambridge, to read history and English, qualifying in 1937 with a MA and a teaching diploma.

Following a variety of temporary teaching positions around Norfolk and Suffolk his first permanent appointment was at Terrington St Clements, where he met his future wife, Margaret Shaw. They were married at Kings Lynn on September 7, 1939.

Army service in the Royal Armoured Corps in Malta and Italy interrupted his early teaching career, but after the war he was appointed to the headship at Thornham School on the Norfolk coast.

In 1953, as the first head teacher, he opened the new West Monkton Secondary School and held the position for 25 years until his retirement in 1978.

Leonard involved himself in a wide variety of community activities. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in July, 1968, and while he retired from the bench in 1984 he continued to sit in the Crown Court.

He was for many years chairman of Taunton Labour Party, and represented West Monkton on the district and then Taunton Deane Council.

He chaired the Dorset and Somerset Agricultural Dwelling House Advisory Committee, also serving on the community health committee.

He contributed to many aspects of life in West Monkton. He was chairman of the village hall committee, which rebuilt the village hall at Monkton Heathfield, as well as organising WEA classes, running the village Scout troop and the youth club.

Leonard was a regular member of the Parochial Church Council and was a long serving church warden at St Augustine’s Church.

His wife died in 1998, and he continued to live at Monkton House in the village until two years ago when he moved to a residential care home in Lytham St Annes, near Blackpool.

A private cremation service was held at Lytham St Annes.

He is survived by his three children, William, Veronica and Richard, ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

A thanksgiving service will be held at West Monkton later in the year.