SYDNEY Haynes, headmaster of Queen’s College, Taunton, from 1953 – 1974, has died aged 97 at Frethay House care home in Taunton.

Mr Haynes studied history at university, before joining the RAF during the Second World War and being deployed to Burma. On his return, he became a teacher.

Present Queen’s headmaster Chris Alcock said: “For many Old Queenians, Sydney was simply ‘Mr Queen’s’.

“He had a great memory for former pupils, always referring to them by surname and initial.

“He was respected, revered and loved by all who knew him, and remained as sharp as ever right up until the end of his life. It was a pleasure and a privilege to have known him.”

John Elford, a pupil in that era and now secretary of the Old Queenian’s Association, added: “When Sydney Haynes became headmaster in 1953 Queen’s was a small and somewhat struggling school.

“Sydney dragged the College up by its bootstraps and really laid the foundations for the thriving school we have today.

“He was a relatively young headmaster for that time and full of energy and dynamism. Sydney, for instance, introduced the first girls to what had been a very traditional boys school.”

Mr Haynes last visited the school for a reunion of pupils from the 1960s and ‘70s in 2008.

He was always keen to chat with pupils and was delighted to be taken gifts by the current head girl and head boy on the occasion of his 97th birthday in February. He has always loved sport, and played hockey for many years. He was an avid supporter of the Somerset County Cricket team, and enjoyed watching them play. Sydney also used to enjoy walking on the Quantock Hills in Somerset.

Previously, he was the chairperson, and member, of the Board of Governors for local hospitals, including Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.

He had lived at Frethey House since last year where he loved playing music, and often entertained the residents on the piano.

His favourite past-times included reading the newspaper and going for his daily walk around the home’s grounds. He also still enjoyed the occasional glass of wine.

Anne Lewin, care home manager of Frethey House, said: “Sydney was a lovely gentleman and will be sorely missed. He was a very popular resident, and still well known and respected by those in the wider community – when he celebrated his 97th birthday we had never seen so many birthday cards! He had a great sense of humour, and we were lucky to have him at Frethey House.”