Lasting legacy of former head teacher as family donates to school

Family of ex-headmaster donates funds to school to be used for defibrillator at St Mary's C Of E Primary School, Normandy, Horsham. Pic Steve Robards   SR1602879 SUS-160125-160656001
Family of ex-headmaster donates funds to school to be used for defibrillator at St Mary's C Of E Primary School, Normandy, Horsham. Pic Steve Robards SR1602879 SUS-160125-160656001

Life-saving equipment will be installed at a primary school in Horsham thanks to a donation from the family of a former head teacher.

John Salt and Mary Wood, the son and daughter of Dennis Salt, who died aged 85 in November, visited St Mary’s Primary School on Monday (January 25).

Family of ex-headmaster donates funds to school to be used for defibrillator at St Mary's C Of E Primary School, Normandy, Horsham, along with other items for the school to keep including a log book. Pic Steve Robards   SR1602890 SUS-160125-160708001

Family of ex-headmaster donates funds to school to be used for defibrillator at St Mary's C Of E Primary School, Normandy, Horsham, along with other items for the school to keep including a log book. Pic Steve Robards SR1602890 SUS-160125-160708001

On their return to the school, the ex-pupils donated £1,000 - money collected since Dennis’ death - to be spent on a defibrillator.

Current head teacher Shelley Dutson said: “It is fabulous because I had heard of Dennis before, he was very well known and a very well respected head teacher.

“I had heard a lot about him, a couple of my staff worked with him and knew him.

“When the family chose us as one of their charities we were amazed and so pleased.

“The idea of the defibrillator came from the idea of helping the community. Hopefully we are never going to use it but the fact we have one is incredibly important.”

The defibrillator is particularly poignant as a boy collapsed and died at the school while Mr Salt was head teacher.

Dr Salt and Mrs Wood were also able to hand over their father’s logbook, filled with decades of school history notes.

The logbook was discovered in a briefcase that Mr Salt took with him to St Mary’s every day, and is filled with ‘little treasures’ of the school’s history, his daughter explained.

It dates back to 1937 and includes the war years as well as a telegram from the Queen Mother.

Mrs Wood added that her father would ‘light up’ in the presence of children, even in his later years.

Dr Salt said: “Dad was very keen on the part music and dancing should play in learning, so he would be delighted to know they can still sing and dance.

“I loved being in my first St Mary’s assembly for 45 years.”

Mr Salt, who was passionate about dance, began the annual tradition of schoolchildren dancing in the Causeway, which still takes place today.

He moved to Horsham in 1967 to take the post of head teacher, a position he held for 22 years until his retirement in 1989.

Along with Harry Mousdell, he formed the Broadwood Morris Men in 1972, and the group’s first public performance was in the chancel of St Mary’s Parish Church.

He was also a chair of the Horsham Society.

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