Terence Dillon, head teacher

Terence Dillon
Terence Dillon
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Terence Dillon, who has died at 82, was a headmaster and inspector of schools who was also a prize-winning brass bandsman in Yorkshire, a rugby player in the county’s President’s XV, and later a noted rowing coach.

Born in 1936, the son of a coal miner in Fitzwilliam, he was blowing cornet by the time he was 14, winning awards for solo performances in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire.

At 15 he was invited to join the Carlton Main and Frickley Colliery Band, playing repiano and sometimes principal cornet. He did his national service in the welsh Guards and went on to play with the Morris Motors band, returning to Carlton Main when they won the British Open Championships.

He also played Messiah as principal cornetist with the Leeds Philharmonic. Having completed his teaching certificate, he turned to rugby – captaining first Skipton and then Ilkley, and playing for the Yorkshire President’s XV in York in the mid 1960s.

After teaching at Airedale and then Salts Grammar School, he became a lecturer in history at Trinity and All Saints’ College in Leeds. He was made deputy head of St Philip’s Grammar in Birmingham, headmaster of the Becket School in Nottingham, and from there an HM Inspector of schools and an education consultant, travelling the world – notably South Africa after apartheid – to support governments with their national curricula.

His sporting endeavours continued in parallel with his career, and after his rugby playing days were over, he began coaching, taking Newark to win the Nottinghamshire Cup.

He also took an interest in rowing, coaching his daughter, Caroline, to elite level as a single sculler and then training athletes, at the Leander Club in Henley-on-Thames, to national and world championships, under the eye of the British team coach, Jurgen Grobler. His son, also Terence, competed at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics.

In retirement, he wrote six books. The first, Light Me a Candle, was an account of his cycle ride through France at 60, following the death his wife, Andrea, in 1996.

At the 2015 World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette, France, he was presented with a yellow jersey by the British team.

Besides Caroline and Terence, he is survived by his children Alison and John, and an extended family of grandchildren.