TOTTINGTON Primary School has paid a moving tribute to its former headteacher, Mike Pinder, who has died aged 70.

A well-known figure throughout Bury, Mike, who died on Easter Sunday, attended Bury Grammar School for Boys, before beginning his teaching career in 1972 at Elton Primary School. He was soon promoted to deputy head at St Paul’s, Ramsbottom, then headteacher at Affetside before finally becoming headteacher at Tottington Primary School in 1986 where he stayed for over a quarter of a century.

Deborah Taylor, Head of School at Tottington Primary School, said: "Mike ensured that the pupils at Tottington enjoyed a wide range of activities to enrich the quality education they received.

"He had a passion for languages and was a confirmed Francophile. He helped introduce the teaching of modern foreign languages, not only ay Tottington, but across all Bury primary schools and children from Tottington enjoyed residential cultural trips to France and London."

The lifelong Bury FC fan was also a keen sportsman and kept wicket for Bury Cricket Club.

Deborah said: "Mike’s love of sports, especially football and cricket, encouraged the school's success in all sports and saw the cricket team through to the England school’s finals at Edgbaston."

Mike's love of musicals and singing ensured his students got to experience the arts and especially drama during his school career.

"Mike masterminded the school plays and shows at Tottington which became full-on productions with costumes, make-up, lighting and live band accompaniment, such as Joseph which was staged at Tottington High," said Deborah. "Mike was a talented pianist and had a superb singing voice, which once heard was never forgotten, and his love of music transferred to the pupils. Under Mike's leadership, the school had a successful choir, school band and even a staff choir.

"Along with other Bury teachers he organised the annual Children of Bury Sing event which joined school choirs from across the borough to perform. Year 6 pupils received a tremendous send off each year as Mike organised a Leavers’ Ball, way before proms were a thing in UK schools, with ballroom dancing, dinner jackets and ‘cocktails’."

Tributes had flooded in to Mike from his former pupils, their parents and fellow teachers.

Deborah added: "Mike was a stickler for correct grammar and pronunciation. He had a firm but fair attitude to behaviour. He encouraged everyone to pursue their interests and talents. Above all, he had a tremendous sense of fun.

"He was kind-hearted and had a meticulous memory for dates. He instigated and encouraged innovation. Over the 26 years he was at the helm at Tottington Primary, he laid a firm bedrock on which the school has continued to grow to become one of the leading schools in the borough.

"I and many others who have worked with and for Mike have very fond memories of him. He will be sadly missed by so many. In the coming weeks, as a school, we will be planning a fitting tribute to honour his legacy and memory."