35,000 lesson hours and out – Dame Allan’s teacher retires

Liam Friel is stepping down after teaching Latin and French at Dame Allan’s for 39 years

A teacher at Dame Allan’s Schools has retired after racking up more than 35,000 hours of teaching Latin and French classes to hundreds of children.

While Liam Friel’s 39 years of teaching languages at the Newcastle independent school drew to a close earlier this month, he has no intention of reaching for his slippers just yet.

Instead, the 62-year-old is training for his 38th consecutive Great North Run in September.

The Gateshead resident and Blaydon Harriers member has taken part in each running of the half-marathon since relocating from Essex to take a post teaching at Dame Allan’s.

“Within the first year of moving here I decided to try the Great North Run, and from run one I was hooked; I just kept doing it!” he said.

“Teaching at Dame Allan’s and running the local half-marathon, with its testing course and fantastic atmosphere, are two things I have dearly loved over the last four decades. It was hard to say goodbye to the schools that have given me so much pleasure to teach in, but I’m not ready to hang up my running shoes quite yet!

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“In fact,” he added, “I hope to keep running for as long as my body doesn’t object, and surpass my 39-year teaching record at Dame Allan’s with at least 40 years of the Great North Run – and hopefully many more.”

Friel had been one of Dame Allan’s longest serving teachers, with his employment predating the 1988 merger of the separate boys’ and girls’ schools.

In all of that time, his passion for his subject remained undimmed.

“Though remote in time, the classical world has had a profound influence on the development of western civilisation, through both language and literature, and I will really miss teaching Latin to the lively, enquiring minds of Dame Allan’s pupils,” he said.

Pic: Crest Photography

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