Allan was born in 1938 and after being educated at Hinckley Grammar School, came up to Jesus College on a Scholarship in 1956, to read English. He moved to Leicester University to take the Diploma in Education, and after a short spell at Lingfield Hospital School moved to Red Hill School at East Sutton near Maidstone in 1961.
Red Hill was founded by Otto Shaw as a boarding school for maladjusted boys, those with problems too severe for ordinary schools to contain. Integral to its success was a system of self-regulation operated by the boys themselves, combined with intensive counselling. Allan made the school his life's work, becoming Headmaster in 1977 and continuing Otto Shaw's traditions.
Allan had a remarkable touch with the boys, being able to engender self-respect and self-control in even the most unruly characters. Perhaps the most effective tribute to him from the school was the number of old boys who came to the funeral - boys who had been written off by the education system, but are now senior executives, university researchers and entrepreneurs.
When the school had to close, Allan remained in contact with the world of special education. He advised at the Pupil Referral Unit as the building became under Kent county Council; he gave his experience working as Clerk to the Trust which replaced the school itself; and he acted as Secretary to the Association of Workers with Maladjusted Children. He took up tutoring of post-graduate students on special education courses at the University of Birmingham, with notably high success rates amongst his tutees.
Amongst all this he found time to chair the East Sutton Parish Council. Later he became Secretary to the Staplehurst Society, becoming an expert in local history and giving talks to local organisations.
He married Sue, a childhood friend from Hinckley in 1960, and they had two sons and a daughter, and now six grandchildren. He died on 20th October 2007 after the recurrence of a brain tumour which, sadly, returned after an operation earlier that year.
By David Wilson (November 2007)
This was written for and will be published in the Alumni Journal of Allan's old college, Jesus College, Cambridge.
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