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Tributes paid to former Norfolk headmaster

FrankDevaney4502014: Tributes have been paid to former head of St Edmund's Catholic Secondary School, Gorleston, author and Catenian, Frank Devany. John Kenny reports.

 
Frank Devany was born on September 9, 1926 in the Norfolk village of Gooderstone, the second son of quite elderly parents.
 
He grew up in Oxborough and attended Downham Market Grammar School.
 
Norfolk was quite an exciting county in which to be a teenager during World War Two as there were so many American, Canadian and British soldiers and airmen garrisoned there.
 
And Frank's contribution to the war effort was to regularly organise dances for the troops at Oxborough Hall.
 
He also regularly assisted his Parish Priest to say mass at the local air bases.
 
Though he was not actually called up for the war he later volunteered as a regular soldier and was posted to Egypt where he would occasionally meet his elder brother Peter, an RAF pilot refuelling en route for Singapore.
 
In 1948 he returned to Oxborough and applied for an ex services grant to study history at Sheffield University where he indulged in his passion for cricket by playing for the University team.
 
On graduation he married his first wife Dora in Sheffield and then moved to Ipswich where he took up his first teaching post and naturally played cricket for the town.
 
In 1954 they moved to Walberswick where Frank played cricket and taught at Reydon School.
 
His big chance came in 1963 when he was appointed head of St Edmund's Catholic Secondary School, Gorleston and went to live in nearby Belton, where he continued his cricket career!
 
Sadly his wife Dora died in 1981 but Frank continued his headship at St Edmund's until his retirement in 1986.
 
He then moved to Walsingham where via mutual friends he married his second wife Brenda in 1989 and they moved to central Norwich where they lived for the next 24 years.
 
He was a great socialiser and a past President of Probus. He enjoyed long walks and bowls and of course watching cricket.
 
He took part in many pilgrimages to Walsingham, Lourdes, Rome and the Holy Land.
 
He was a member for 51 years of the Society of St.Vincent De Paul.
 
He was a daily attender at mass at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
 
He took a great interest in local Catholic and family history and wrote a book, "The Faithful Few: A History of Norfolk Roman Catholics".
 
He was the recipient of the 'Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice' medal in recognition of his devotion to the Catholic Church.
 
He joined the Norwich Circle of the Catenian Association on April 25, 1985 and was later to meet up with two of his former St Edmunds school pupils Pio Altarelli and Roger Hayes who later joined the Circle.
 
His funeral took place at the Cathedral in front of a packed congregation and tributes were paid to him by his daughter Louise O'Neill and fellow Catenian Roger Pearson.
 
He is survived by Brenda, seven children and seven grandchildren.

Published: 07/02/2014


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