Obituary: Family honours teacher who was 'respected by everyone'

Ernie Parsons was a teacher at Costessey Secondary Modern School - now Ormiston Victory Academy.

Ernie Parsons was a teacher at Costessey Secondary Modern School - now Ormiston Victory Academy. - Credit: Andrew Parsons

A man who shaped the lives of thousands of children, both in his profession and his volunteering, has died just days before his 86th birthday.

Ernie Parsons spent his entire teaching career at Costessey Secondary Modern School, now Ormiston Victory Academy, and taught metalwork and woodcraft for more than 30 years.

However after a series of bouts with septicaemia, he was admitted to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital University Hospital (NNUH), where he died on February 18, aged 85.

He lived in Norwich his whole life, buying a bungalow with his wife Eve in Linden Road, Costessey when they were first being developed in the 60s.

The couple never looked back and lived there for around 70 years, where they also raised their sons Andrew and Derek.

Teaching was always in Ernie's blood even from a young age, according to Andrew.

Andrew said: "It all started with the scouts. 

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"He was very active there, both as a child and later on as a teenager as well, earning the Queen's Scout Award."

Having left school Ernie worked at Norwich-based engineering company Mann Edgerton, doing mostly metal work.

After a short stint Ernie then left to do his national service for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

Ernie Parsons pictured with staff at Costessey Secondary Modern School after retiring.

Ernie Parsons pictured with staff at Costessey Secondary Modern School after retiring. - Credit: Andrew Parsons

Andrew said: "With his passion and natural crafting skills, along with his previous experience working with children, Ernie wanted to get into teaching.

"So he got on to a teacher training course and went to work at Costessey Secondary School when he finished his service.

"He taught mainly metalwork, as well as other crafts, but was also very active in the pastoral setup within the school at the time.

"You could see how much he loved to teach and how integral he was to the school because he spent his whole teaching career there and was one of the school's longest-serving teachers."

Even though Ernie had to retire at 58 due to health complications he still gave up his time to help as many people as he could.

Having retired Ernie became active in charity the West Norwich Lions Club, which aims to support communities in various shapes and forms in its area.

Derek Goodswen, who grew up with Ernie, went to scouts with him and the pair were friends for almost 70 years.

Derek said: "He was such a lovely fella - him and his wife were such a good couple.

"We spent time together in later years at the West Norwich Lions Club where he would dress up as Santa during the Christmas collection period and help raise money.

"Because we were in the scouts together we went to many conventions back in the day, including one in Holland.

"I remember we used to meet up behind Chapelfield and get up to all sorts."

Ernie Parsons dedicated a lot of his time to charity after his teaching career working with the West Lion Club.

Ernie Parsons dedicated a lot of his time to charity after his teaching career working with the West Lion Club. - Credit: Andrew Parsons

Andrew added: "He was happiest when with his family, especially his grandchildren and used to play with them all the time.

"He used to hone his crafting skills even in his spare time by making toys for mine and my brother's children."

As well as making trains, jeeps, even a rocking horse for Andrew's daughter, Ernie was a keen gardener.

With three or sometimes four greenhouses in his garden at any given time, Ernie could often be found making bird boxes for his feathered neighbours.

Andrew said: "He had such a big character - you'd always hear him coming and even more so when he was in the room with you.

"I think it must be from all those years of teaching and needing to raise your voice to be heard - it certainly carried over into his personal life as well."

However Ernie's ongoing battle with septicaemia finally took it's toll on the respected teacher.

Andrew added: "He was admitted to hospital recently and we were lucky enough to see him less than 24 hours before he passed away."

As well as his son Andrew, Ernie Parsons leaves behind his other son Derek, loving wife Eve as well his three grandchildren Alice, Kathryn and Rachel.