More that 150 members of the local community and past and present staff of Wellington School joined the family of Leonard Isaac in a Service of Thanksgiving in the Chapel of St Michael and St George on Monday 17 December. Len died on 4 December, having suffered from the effects of Parkinson’s Disease for some years.
After service with the Royal Air Force in the last years of World War 2, Len Isaac joined the staff of the school in 1951 as a teacher. He was promoted to become Head of German and later Head of Modern Languages. He retired in 1986 having been fully involved in the life of the school for 35 years. He was an assistant housemaster, edited the school magazine – and in doing so regularly offended the Headmaster with articles and photographs that were regarded as a little too modern – and took a keen interest in music in the school’s beautiful chapel and in its ongoing refurbishment.
Len was ahead of his time in adopting modern technology, buying and learning to use one of the earliest Amstrad computers and making tapes of music in the chapel on a portable recorder in preference to old-fashioned and much more weighty equipment. In the classroom his pupils will remember him as a skilful teacher whose rigorous methods and expectations encouraged them to achieve high standards.
His attachment to the school was maintained after his retirement in 1986. His continuing legacy is ‘The Story of Wellington School 1937 – 1990’ which was published in 1995. A bound copy can now be found in Wellington Museum which he supported actively and for which he wrote a pamphlet on the history of the town’s once-thriving brickworks. Steam trains, paddle steamers and Victoriana were also amongst his enduring interests.
He was an active and sincere Christian and regularly worshipped at St John’s Church until becoming a resident at Dunkirk Memorial House in Bishop’s Lydeard as a result of declining health. It is testament to his abiding friendships that he continued to be supported there by members of the school community and the town as well as his family until his death.
His Service of Thanksgiving opened as he would have wished with pieces by Bach whose music he revered. It was led by the school’s Chaplain with psalms sung by the Chapel Choir, conducted by Director of Music Andrew Trewhella, and readings by members of his family and friends. Donations were invited to be made to Parkinson’s UK.