A MUCH-LOVED former headmaster spent the day before his 100th birthday sharing some life lessons with pupils at the school he once led.

Robert ‘Bob’ Brown said it had been a ‘revitalising’ experience to spend the morning with past and present pupils from Norton Primary Academy, more than three decades after he retired as headmaster.

Youngsters from the school council were keen to learn from Mr Brown who told them about his time as an RAF pilot during the Second World War.

He described being shot down over Germany and taken as a prisoner of war – mischievously telling the keen-eared youngsters that his time as a war captive was ‘boring’.

Mr Brown became headmaster of the school in 1966 when it was in Norton village and called Norton Board School – known locally as Noggyboard.

It was demolished in 1983 and a Co-op shop now stands in its place, but the archway and clock remain on the High Street.

'Noggyboard' was replaced by the current Norton Primary Academy building which is very much a part of Mr Brown’s legacy as he pressed the council to ensure it was a solid brick building and not the prefabricated style which was common for schools at that time.

Mr Brown oversaw the transition between the new and old schools - staying on an extra two years - before retiring in 1984.

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He was invited back on Friday to celebrate his 100th birthday today and after enjoying tea and cake with the pupils, Mr Brown said it had been ‘overwhelming’ to return to school he had so loved much.

He said: “My favourite thing was working with the children, they are quite remarkable.

"Some of the things they say to you, they are actually very deep thinkers."

One of Mr Brown's aims as headteacher was to ensure that all children had an equal opportunity to learn, so he scrapped the streaming system which had divided youngsters according to ability.

He said: "What is important is what we can offer the children and what they can build on.

"And people must realise that children are very, very important to us, not just because they are the future, but also because of what they can offer us today."

Mr Brown joked that he would be 'no good' at at using the computer technology that is now commonplace in modern schools and he marvelled at the way the younger generations have embraced the digital age.

And it wasn't just the current pupils who were pleased to see Mr Brown return to the school.

Staff members and pupils took a trip down memory lane with him, including Deborah Good who knows Mr Brown both as her headteacher when she was a 'Noggyboard' pupil and as her peer when she returned to the new primary school as an adult studying for her nursery teaching assistant qualifications.

She said: "He is just a lovely man, I remember when I was a student at the school, the children would just swarm around him, they loved him.

"Nobody who went to the school would have a bad word to say about him and it is so lovely to see him back here today."