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Fr John Grumitt SJ has died - a much loved teacher

Fr John Grumitt SJ

Fr John Grumitt SJ

Teachers and staff at Mount St Mary's College in Derbyshire have paid tribute to former head teacher Fr John Grumitt SJ who has died aged 79.

Fr Grumitt, who was head at the Spinkhill school from 1976 to 1990, is remembered with affection by long-serving staff.

The last Jesuit head at Mount St Mary's, Fr Grumitt was renowned locally for his unique and eccentric teaching style and character.

During meetings with staff about school issues, teachers would emerge having listened to what was on Fr Grumitt's mind - and forgetting what had been on theirs!

He drove a well-loved RS2 Cosworth Turbo car - an unusual choice for a priest but indicative of Fr Grumitt's great passion for technology.

In the Jesuit spirit of 'men and women for others', he was generous with the money he had inherited through a family trust fund, installing a television studio and an electronic notice board at the school to display sports match results and pupils' birthdays.

He indulged his love of gadgets at Mount St Mary's, installing a filming tower on the middle rugby flats, which meant matches could be filmed then edited in school, an unusual feature for a school in the eighties.

It was not only technology that fascinated Fr Grumitt. 'Hawk Mews', at the top of the Mount's St Mary's distinctive Pineapple Tower, is named after the bird that Fr Grumitt kept at the Tower.

'Grumbo', as he was known, was loved for his little acts of kindness, even driving to a nearby town to buy a replacement projector bulb so a teacher's lesson could go ahead as planned.

Laurence McKell, head teacher of Mount St Mary's, said: "The affection in which Fr Grumitt was held by all who knew him during his time as headmaster is obvious from the phone calls and emails we have received from former teachers, pupils and parents since news of his sudden death was announced.

"He had a great love for the school and took a real interest in developing talents. He was a truly unique character and he will be sadly missed by many."