A former headteacher who dedicated his life to supporting young people has died at the age of 88.

From pursuing a career studying metals to working his way up the education ladder, Jack Mann will be remembered for his ability to encourage and support.

Born in 1934 in Hoyland Common, South Yorkshire, he was the sole child of Francis William Mann and Mary Elizabeth.

One of his earliest memories was from a 1939 holiday to the Isle of Man where he recalled the fear of war being present. He also remembered collecting eggs from his grandad’s chicken farm. 

Thetford & Brandon Times: Jack Mann during his National ServiceJack Mann during his National Service (Image: Courtesy of family)

Soon after, the Second World War broke out and Mr Mann started school at Hoyland Common infants where he recalled the school’s football pitch being replaced with an air raid shelter.

In 1945, he passed his 11-plus examination and moved to Ecclesfield Grammar School. 

During his time here, there was a huge teacher shortage with many of the male teachers away on active service. He would become one of many who suffered from a curriculum and exam change. Being in the top stream, he was forced to do Latin.  

Outside of his classes, he enjoyed chess and played in the football team. He also enjoyed weekly trips to the cinema. 

Thetford & Brandon Times: Jack Mann, the former headteacher at Methwold High School and Costessey High School

In 1952, he left home to begin his compulsory two years of National Service.  

After his basic training, he trained as a radar instructor and became a bombardier in the Artillery Regiment based at Shoeburyness, Essex, guarding the Thames estuary.  

Contracting tuberculosis put an end to this career and Mr Mann spent eight months bedbound before having part of his left lung removed. 

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By 1956, he was allowed to return to work gradually and worked part time as a metallurgist at the Sheffield steel laboratories at Hadfields.

The company allowed him to attend college on day release. He also attended evening classes one night a week.  

Soon after starting his job, he met Muriel Clayton.  

In 1958, they married and moved into their own home – with a mortgage of £8 per month – in Droppingwell, Rotherham. 

His daughters, Gillian and Christine, were born soon after the wedding. And the couple’s son, Richard, was born in 1965.   

Thetford & Brandon Times: A sign of Methwold High School taken after Jack Mann was headteacher there

From 1961, Mr Mann’s life became vastly different. 

He decided to retrain to become a science teacher and completed his qualification at teacher training college. 

After he qualified, the family moved to Leamington Spa and Mr Mann began his first teaching job in Warwick, Warwickshire.  

Before moving to Norfolk, he progressed in his academic studies and, along with other house and job moves, worked his way up the career ladder including taking on roles such as head of department and introducing a new science course. 

In 1967, he studied educational psychology at Sheffield University before going on to complete an MA course at Hull University. 

In 1975, the family moved to Norfolk where Mr Mann became headteacher at Methwold High School, near Downham Market, before moving to Norwich in 1984 and taking up the post of headteacher at Costessey High School. 

Thetford & Brandon Times: A sign ofCostessey High School taken after Jack Mann was headteacher there

He remained in Norfolk for the rest of his life, becoming a Norwich City Football Club season ticket holder for many years along with his son and grandson, Ian. 

He also enjoyed watching sport on television, especially cricket, and during retirement he played bowls and croquet. 

In 1996, the couple moved to Wicklewood, near Wymondham, where he became a hospital transport driver and worked for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. 

Murial died in 2005. 

Thetford & Brandon Times: Jack Mann was an avid Norwich City FC supporterJack Mann was an avid Norwich City FC supporter (Image: Courtesy of family)

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Mr Mann would go on to marry a former colleague, Sonia, in 2009, becoming close to her children, Peter and Wendy. 

Together they enjoyed many holidays together, including cruises, before Sonia’s death in 2021. 

Mr Mann died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on May 20, 2023 at the age of 88.