Wife pays tribute to teacher and avid traveller

Alf Scrimgour, former chairman of Worthing Rugby Club and headteacher at East Preston Primary School
Alf Scrimgour, former chairman of Worthing Rugby Club and headteacher at East Preston Primary School

The wife of an avid traveller and teacher from Worthing has paid tribute to him.

Alf Scrimgour passed away from heart failure after a short illness on March 21 at his home in Laurel Close, Durrington, surrounded by his sons Sam and Jonny and Sue, his wife of 26 years.

Alf Scrimgour, former chairman of Worthing Rugby Club and headteacher at East Preston Primary School, with family

Alf Scrimgour, former chairman of Worthing Rugby Club and headteacher at East Preston Primary School, with family

She said she had been sent more than 50 cards and letters following his death: “He was an absolutely devoted father; everybody that knew him immediately fell in love with him, and he became lifelong friends with all of them.”

Alf moved to Sussex from Middlesbrough aged 19 in 1967 to attend Bishop Otter College in Chichester to do teacher training.

In his career, he taught at Buckingham Middle School in Shoreham and East Preston Primary School in East Preston, where he became headteacher.

He also organised skiing trips for the pupils at Our Lady of Sion School in Westbrooke, Worthing, and in the eighties left teaching to pursue a 20-year career in travel, setting up educational tour programmes for school groups and working for the tourism company Kuoni before retiring in 2016.

Alf Scrimgour, former chairman of Worthing Rugby Club and headteacher at East Preston Primary School, with family

Alf Scrimgour, former chairman of Worthing Rugby Club and headteacher at East Preston Primary School, with family

His larger than life personality helped his side venture as an after-dinner speaker, including a cricket group’s tour of Antigua. Sue recalled Alf’s amazement at the cheers he got at the end of his speech – only to discover it was because cricketer Brian Lara reached his 400th run at the same time.

His rhetorical and comedic skills were put to the test at the funeral of Benny Hill’s brother Len – a friend he had lived with in Worthing.

Sue said: “Alf had been given strict instruction by his old friend Len to make his eulogy funny – a scary order with Benny Hill sitting in the front row – but of course he pulled it off.”

Passionate about rugby, he was a former chairman and president of Worthing Rugby Club and organiser of the Sussex Sevens and the Worthing Mini Festival.

Alf Scrimgour, former chairman of Worthing Rugby Club and headteacher at East Preston Primary School, far right

Alf Scrimgour, former chairman of Worthing Rugby Club and headteacher at East Preston Primary School, far right

His funeral is on Wednesday at 3pm at Worthing Crematorium’s Kingswood Chapel in Horsham Road, Findon. The family asked for donations to the British Heart Foundation and for guests to wear a splash of red. Almost £700 has been raised so far on the JustGiving page; click here to donate.

Sue said: “He was a great traveller – the world is a smaller place without him. Safe travels Alf on your final journey.”