Brian Collingridge Obituary, Death – BRIAN Collingridge, the former headteacher a Kingsmead School, Wiveliscombe, has died at the age of 88. Mr Collingridge, who took the helm at the school aged just 32, dedicated many selfless hours to help improve the town following his retirement in 1996. When he arrived at Kingsmead, he oversaw its move from a secondary modern to a comprehensive school. And within a year the school expanded when the school leaving age was raised to 16.
One of his proudest moments was being interviewed on national television when Kingsmead was the only school in the country where all leavers either had a job to go to or went into further education. Mr Collingridge, who leaves a wife, Shirley, three sons and six grandchildren, was born in Oxford and brought up in Bath. He did his national service after the Second World War, working underground to track aircraft from unfriendly countries entering British airspace. He studied at Bristol University, where he met his future wife, who he married in 1960.
They initially lived in Croydon before Mr Collingridge taught at a Quaker Friends school in Great Ayton, North Yorkshire. He later moved to the Bristol area and was appointed director of studies at Chew Valley Secondary School. The couple then relocated to Waterrow, near Wiveliscombe, when he was given the Kingsmead job. They later moved into the town, firstly living in Richard Beadon Close and later in a bungalow built for them in Ford Road. In his retirement, Mr Collingridge served on the town council and was chairman of the governors at Wiveliscombe Primary School.
He was a big supporter of social housing and managed to attracted a grant for a community hall to be built at the primary school. He enjoyed writing and worked on the Wivey Messenger newspaper, as well as writing a book on the history of the town. He was heavily involved in the Wivey Link community transport scheme and pushed for the re-opening of the town hall. His son Peter said: “He was ahead of his time. “He knew when computers came out that they’d have a massive part in education.
“He bought us some before schools ever had any and he made sure Kingsmead had many computers. “Although he was interested in the past, he focused on the future. “He was very socially supportive during lockdown. He’d always talk to people and was well regarded by many people.” Mr Collingridge died at his home in Wiveliscombe.