IT is with great sadness that I bring you the news that Mr Neil Shanassy died unexpectedly on Sunday night.

Neil joined King’s Ely in September 1961 to teach Geography, Maths and English. Over the course of 36 years he served at various times as Housemaster of Wilkinson, Oppidans A, Walsingham and School House. He spent many years as Head of Geography, seeing the school through structural and technological changes. Outside of his teaching and pastoral duties he became Head of the Common Room, served as Librarian and latterly was the school’s Senior Master.

Neil was passionate about sport and coached the Under 15 Rugby team throughout his career. He and his wife Helen would throw suppers for his team at the end of each year, an event to which the boys he coached looked forward to with eager anticipation.

Neil will be remembered by his former colleagues as always willing to help, reliable and modest. Upon his retirement in 1997 his colleague and friend Tony Bland wrote that it was ‘in a real sense, the end of an era’. He was a man who left a huge impression on those he worked alongside, as well as the hundreds of pupils he taught and guided through King’s Ely.

After retirement he and Helen remained active in the school community. They regularly attended alumni events, which delighted his former pupils, to whom he was always affectionately known as ‘Shan’.

We remember Neil as a thoughtful, kind and generous man, who will be sorely missed. Our prayers are with Helen, their children Emma and Tim and their families at this difficult and painful time.

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