Share your memories of former Hewett School headteacher Walter Roy, who has died aged 87.

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Tributes have been paid to an inspirational headteacher and trade unionist who believed education did not begin and end in the classroom.

Dr Walter Roy CBE was the first headteacher at the Hewett School, in Norwich, following its formation in 1970, and oversaw the education of thousands of Norwich children before his retirement in 1990.

A committed democrat and defender of teaching, Dr Roy became a prominent voice on educational matters at county and national level. He died in Graz, in his native Austria, on Wednesday at the age of 87.

Rob Anthony, associate headteacher at the Hewett School, said Dr Roy left a legacy to which the school continued to aspire.

“Because he was the first head, he set the standard of the school and the way it works.

“You can still see that now: caring for the children and pushing them all. That was a real strength of his, and he really did work hard for every child.”

Dr Roy arrived in England aged 13, a refugee from the Nazi regime in Austria, and was part of the British Intelligence during the Second World War.

After the war ended, he stayed in England and trained as a teacher, working in Hertfordshire before arriving at Hewett Grammar in September 1969.

The following year he oversaw the merger with Lakenham Boys’ and Lakenham Girls’ schools to form Norwich’s largest school.

He had three children with his first wife, Marjorie, and following her death, married Ariane in 2002. He moved back to Austria in 2007.

Dr Roy was involved in education at regional and national level through his work on the national executive of the National Union of Teachers, Norfolk’s education committee and the East Anglian Examination Board.

His daughter, Kate Russell, said he had interests out of work – when time allowed.

“He was a season-ticket holder at Norwich City, and used to watch them with my brother,” said Mrs Russell, 55. “My parents had a holiday bungalow in Cromer where they spent time. He also loved walking, the Norfolk coast, and had an interest in opera.”

Dr Roy became a CBE in 1976 and published Teaching Under Attack in 1982, highlighting funding cuts in the profession.

A keen traveller, Dr Roy was president and co-founder of the Sonnenberg Association, fostering links between young people of different countries.

Marion Morse, chair of the Hewett governors, called Dr Roy “a great showman”.

“He very much believed in education being more than just passing exams,” she said. “He was a keen supporter of music, sports and arts – and we try to pursue that ethos to this day.”

Terry Cook, a senior Norfolk County Council education officer, said Dr Roy had led the school with distinction, and championed young people and teachers alike. He added: “He will always be remembered with great affection in Norfolk.”

What are your memories of Dr Roy? How will he be remembered? Leave your comments below the article or email mark.shields@archant.co.uk

20 comments

  • It was interesting to read Alain Goreham's comment about Walter Roy remembering him after so many years saying 'I never forget the naughty ones'. I think that one of the wonderful things about Dr Roy was that he wanted everyone to succeed and if he could see potential in a pupil he would do what he could to help them to achieve it - he cared about us, especially those of us who didn't quite fit the mould. I was a pretty dreadful pupil and drove my teachers to distraction but Dr Roy thought I was special and, because of that, I started to blossom. He was genuinely pleased when I told him I wanted to go into teaching. I've been a headteacher myself since 2000 and have alway tried to follow the passionate but slightly irreverent model epitomised by Walter Roy... I hope he would have been proud.

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    Sarah Humphreys

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

  • A Farewell to my beloved Cousin, Walter! He was really more than a Cousin, he was more a brother to me, who gave me love, strength, advice, support, when I most needed it in my own turbulent life.. Our families shared the same living quarters because of the situation then in Vienna, our place of birth. In the depression era, there was an unbelievable shortness of homes or apartments, so we doubled up....Although he was 5 years younger than I, we became "buddies" and shared so many activities, playing chess, cards, outings into nearby parks etc.etc. He was always so mature for his age and even as practically a little toddler, he was "fun" to talk to.... He left an imprint on every life he touched...especially as a teacher, for so many young people in his professional life as a headmaster for a huge High school in Norwich! Tremendously enamored of the arts, music, the theater, he went all out to instill in his flock the Love for cultural activities,his Choir, whom he took to other parts of Europe to delight the music lovers with young English voices. He was basically a quiet, gentle man, who only spoke up, when it really mattered (and very strong and powerfully, then) - I believe, he hated "small talk", except with his beloved English Club, which he initiated, when he returned to his native Austria, after his first wife passed away. He loved LIFE and clung to it till his bitter end - he is now in a better world, a place without pain and suffering, a place, where we will all travel to, sooner or later and then I hope, we will all be able to enjoy again his remarkable presence and be re-united with this so special, unique man, who has left us with a certain emptiness in our daily life . He truly left his mark in the world, the here and know! And he will live on in our hearts and memories, forever! Good Night, Sweet Prince....and may a host of Angels lay thee to thy rest (Thanks, Shakespeare, for your proper words of Farewell!) Your Cousin, Sister, Friend, Lisa

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    Dr.Lisa

    Friday, July 13, 2012

  • Dr Roy was my headmaster and I remember a very important man striding around the school but didn't really get to know him - perhaps I wasn't naughty enough (I was certainly naughty at times). It is a shame that as a child you don't realise how interesting adults can be - what a life he led, and what an inspiration he must have been to the people who knew him well.

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    MrsP

    Friday, July 6, 2012

  • Dr Roy was a brilliant headmaster. He made the Hewett a great school with a strong reputation. He fought Thatcher's cuts and did his best to provide the best education for the school's pupils. He was also quite a character and I am sure there are many people holding their right index finger to their nose as they remember him today. Thank you Dr Roy.

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    AFA Fostering

    Friday, July 6, 2012

  • I remember going to Austria with the senior choir with him. It was an exchange trip and I suppose part of his international links organisation. He was a very interesting man who I respected greatly. Gone but not forgotten. God bless

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    Julie Simmons

    Friday, July 6, 2012

  • I studied at the Hewett school through to my A levels in 1978 . Dr Roy was a well respected headmaster with confident authority to make the school achieve . My memories of him were as a natural leader who championed education and was realistic regarding the individual ability of each and every pupil under his guidance . I have many happy memories of my school days at the Hewett and feel lucky to have been part of his aspirations .

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    SHOOK

    Friday, July 6, 2012

  • R.i.p dr Roy,I remember him well,as I had the dubious honour of being the first pupil he expelled from his school in 1984,I was a royal pain & he gave me several chances to get my act together which I blew,after leaving school I became a cab driver, one eveniing at least ten years after being expelled,I got a pickup from ncfc,whilst driving the customer home he said out loud hello Alain how are you,I turned &looked &instantly recognised him as my former headmaster,I asked how the devil did you recognise me as he must have seen tens of thousands of pupils in his time at the hewett,he replied I never forget the naughty ones with a chuckle,he was very happy & proud that I was working & stayed out of trouble,he may be gone but I will never forget him,a fair man,rip dr Roy .

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    Alain Goreham

    Friday, July 6, 2012

  • Sad to hear the news about Walter Roy. He was an inspiring head teacher with a really authoritative presence. Along with the other Hewett teachers at the time, he helped inspire me to believe that I could achieve my dreams. Shaun Lowthorpe (Hewett School 1985-91)

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    Shaun Lowthorpe

    Friday, July 6, 2012

  • Dr. Roy was an extraordinary headmaster. He was always there when you needed him and always around when you hoped he perhaps wouldn't be! God bless.

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    Karen Aldridge

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

  • I joined Lakenham Girls in September 1969 having failed my 11 plus, the following year the Hewitt and Lakenham schools formed the Hewitt Comprehensive and Dr Roy was headmaster. My parents moved to Gorleston in 1972 and thankfully Dr Roy recommended my transfer to Gorleston Grammar.As a result of Dr Roy's recommendation I gain confidence in my ability to progress through the education system and nurse training.Thanks to his support my childhood ambition of nusring has spanned over 30 years in the NHS.

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    Alethea Hastings

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

  • An amazing Man, both my SIster and I were at Hewett with Dr Roy and also his replacement Mr Wade. The Dr Roy left footprints to large for any one too fill. The status of the school now compared to then is testiment to that. Dr Roy fought with passion to deliver for everyone in the school, teachers, students and support staff. He valued everyone. I bumped in to him in the City some time after he had left he ask how I was, how my sister was and our parents. Still remembering the names of both me and my sister given the 10's of thousands of people he would have meet is a testiment in itself. He truely was a gentleman, made of strong moral fibre, who will remain in my memories always.

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    Einstein

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

  • Yes,I remember doing my Doc Roy impersonations back in 1970.However,he was a fine headmaster and cared deeply about education and he helped make the Hewett into one of the better schools in Norwich.

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    Richard Downing

    Friday, July 6, 2012

  • RIP Dr Roy. A great headmaster - a great man.

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    rooboy

    Friday, July 6, 2012

  • Would just like to pay my respects to Walter Roy who was head of Hewett School when my children started there, though he retired soon afterwards. But not before I realised that he was an courageous and inspirational man whose values were his driving force. He was innovative and yet kind, principled but not dogmatic. He played the politics well and always seemed to have a bit of a twinkle in his eye. We need more people like him who will stand their ground, still to their values and not be swayed by media and personal career gains. I am glad he reached a good age but sorry to hear of his passing. He will be remembered in Norwich for a long time to come. RIP

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    Mario

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

  • You ran a fine school with wisdom & compassion. Education as it should be. Thank you. JJ

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    jcjmcat

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

  • Remember him very well,he was a vip to us didnt see him that often but had such respect from his staff and pupils,a legend.Goodnight God Bless x

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    foxey

    Friday, July 6, 2012

  • Sad news.He was a real innovator, and cared deeply for the school.The LEA was no match for him! The thirty-odd years I taught there really were the best days of my career. He will be remembered with respect and admiration. R.I.P.

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    Jack Stanley

    Friday, July 6, 2012

  • so sad to hear this, he was an amazing and respected headteacher. RIP Dr Roy x

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    jdixon

    Friday, July 6, 2012

  • So sad to hear this news. He was an inspiration - Kept a distance, and yet his presence always very keenly felt. At this time, 27years ago, I would have been in Austria, on one of several music trips I went on, whilst at Hewett. He was a truly great Head, who had a made the Hewett School one of the best. I will always have great memories of the school, and of Dr Roy. RIP

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    bluemum2

    Monday, July 9, 2012

  • As a close friend of Walter Roy, who lived in the same village as myself in Austria, I am mourning for a highly respectable, witty and sophisticated man. Monika Mörtl-Schuster

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    Monika Mörtl-Schuster

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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