THE ex-head teacher of the Montgomery of Alamein School, Winchester, Dennis Beacham has died after a long illness quietly at home on Wednesday, July 4, aged 86.

He came to Winchester in 1967 when he was appointed to the then, Winchester County Secondary School for boys, and set about transforming the school. One of his first actions was to approach Field Marshall Viscount Lord Montgomery of Alamein, for permission to rename the school in his honour.

Monty' agreed and visited the school for the renaming ceremony, presenting the school with both his badge and standard for their use. In the years that followed and supported by loyal and dedicated colleagues the school was transformed into a successful and sought after school in the Winchester area.

Dennis Beacham, continued until retirement in 1984 to play a full and active part in every aspect of school life, he insisted on retaining a teaching commitment, believing it important that as a head teacher he should remain in contact with the classroom.

Prior to taking up the appointment in Winchester, he had been the head of Ingram School in South London and before that the head of Bishop's High School in Tobago.

Born and brought up in Bath, he volunteered for the army at the outbreak of war in 1939. He was eventually commissioned as an infantry officer, serving with East Lancashire regiment, part of the 53 Welsh Division; with whom he saw action in Belgium, Holland, the crossing of the Rhine and the battles of the Reichwald and Hamburg. Following the war he returned to education and attended King's College London, from where he graduated with a BA in history.

He is survived by his wife Mary, daughter Topsy, son Ian, daughter-in-law Carol, four grandchildren and one great grandson.

There will be a service to celebrate his life on July 20 at 11.30am at the parish church in Kings Somborne. Flowers are requested not to be sent, however there will be an opportunity at the service to make a donation to the Coast Guard Association (cliff rescue). An indication of attendance at the service would be appreciated to: If you have memories of Mr Beacham you wish to share please fill in the comment box below.