Tributes to Mrs Crellin, who dedicated her life to teaching in Leeds

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A long-serving headteacher who worked 10 years beyond retirement age because she loved the job so much has died.

Kay Crellin, 77, was headteacher at Temple Newsam Halton Primary School for 25 years. She died at home on September 23 with her husband, Keith, by her side.

Mrs Crellin was 71 when she retired as she loved her job and the children she taught so much, teaching generations of the same families.

Born in Bridlington on October 13, 1939 to Roy and Ada Hislop, her father was called up to serve in the army. On his return the family moved to Sheepscar and then Alwoodley.

Mrs Crellin attended Allerton High School before going to Clifton Teacher Training College in Bristol where she met her first husband, who was from the Isle of Man.

She returned to Leeds for her first job Victoria Boys Middle School. At the time, she was just 21 and teaching boys just six years younger than herself. She had the distinction of being the school's first ever female member of staff, but was not allowed into the traditional staff room with male colleagues.

Keith recalls his wife telling him about her time at the school and said:

“The boys were not impressed until she did a handspring and threw a cricket ball the length of the field. From then they were like sheep, stealing flowers on the way to school to give to her.”

In the 1960s she started a family and had two sons; Jon, now a drummer with his own recording studio, and Chris, a dance choreographer for the cruise line Royal Caribbean. Mrs Crellin also spent time as deputy head of Green Lane School in Garforth.

In the late 1980s, her first husband died and in 1994 she met Keith, the owner of a yacht charter company, while on holiday in Corfu. They wed two years later. Mr Crellin sold all but one of his boats and in 2004 she helped him sail the remaining yacht back to the south of France and then to the UK.

They continued to enjoy sailing holidays until she became too ill to travel.

“We met the first year after my wife died and hit it off. It was one of those things - and the similarities didn’t end there. She had two sons, I had two sons, she was a teacher, my late wife was a teacher, her late husband was from the Isle of Man, my name is from the Isle of Man.

“She worked hard all her life and the school has been very successful, largely down to Kay. When we first met she was at her desk at 7am and I wouldn’t see her until 7pm. She was wedded to the school more than me!"