Tribute to former Allenheads Trust chairman

Keith Walker
Keith Walker

A FORMER Prudhoe High School teacher who ran outdoor education activities across the Tyne Valley has died at the age of 73.

Keith Walker also served as chairman of the Allenheads Trust for 13 years, working to preserve the village’s historic sites.

Family and friends paid their respects at a service on Tuesday this week at the High Forest Community Centre in Sinderhope, following his death on September 21.

Keith was born at Kenton in Newcastle and was educated at Rutherford School. He became a keen member of the Scout Association, and in 1965, he co-led a 17,000-mile expedition to South America.

Keith trained to be a geography and PE teacher at Durham University, before furthering his studies in Nigeria, where he met his first wife, Cricket. They went on to have a son, Kevin, and a daughter, Caitlin.

While in Africa, Keith began keeping chickens, a hobby which was to stay with him for life.

He moved back to the North-East in the 1970s and took up a new post at Prudhoe High School teaching outdoor activities.

A versatile teacher with an interest in skiing, climbing, mountaineering, hiking, sailing and caving, Keith hosted an out-of-school club and was a long-term supporter of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme.

Keith went on to run community centres at Horsley Hill, Whitburn and Boldon in South Tyneside, where he met his second wife, Paula, and the pair were married for 39 years.

Keith had a second daughter, Lucy, and the family bought a holiday cottage in Allenheads in 1983, where Keith became immersed in community life.

This included his involvement with the Allenheads Trust, which was formed in response to a news article that reported the village was among “Britain’s dying uplands”.

The grandfather of five stepped down as chairman of the trust in May this year due to ill health.

The trust erected a stone plaque on a cairn at Spion Kop, which overlooks the village, in honour of Keith’s work as chairman.

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