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Tributes flow for inspirational Port Talbot head teacher Tony Miskell

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

Tony Miskell

Tony Miskell

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AN inspirational former head teacher who spent his 33 year teaching career at the same Port Talbot school has died.

Tony Miskell was one of the original 20-member teaching staff appointed at St Joseph’s when the new Catholic comprehensive school opened its doors in September 1964.

The 71-year-old (right) was educated at Dyffryn Grammar School and had just completed his degree and teacher training qualification at Aberystwyth when the then parish priest at Port Talbot, Canon Quilligan, was recruiting staff for the new comprehensive.

He was appointed head of English teaching, and in 1969 Mr Miskell was awarded the deputy-headship, a role which he retained until 1994 when he became head teacher.

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The school’s head of sixth form Arthur Gwynn, who was a pupil when Mr Miskell taught at the school, and also worked alongside him, said he was a very popular.

“He was quite an inspirational figure,” he said.

“People would say he was a wonderful English teacher. He was someone who knew every child, their names, and their brothers and sisters. All the staff are saddened to hear of his death.”

Aberavon councillor Tony Taylor said Mr Miskell was a true gentleman.

“He helped build the tradition of St Joseph’s and made it into a very good school,” he said.

During his time at the school he built up the library from scratch, directed the first ever school play in 1966, and helped develop an active parent teacher association.

It was also at St Joseph’s that Mr Miskell met his wife of 45 years, Patricia Farrell, who joined the staff as a chemistry teacher in 1966.

He was treasurer of Port Talbot Town Cricket Club for many years and a regular swimmer at the Afan Lido.

He took up running during 1980s, joining Neath Harriers and completed Cardiff marathon in 1985 and the London marathon in 1987.

Mr Miskell, who died peacefully at Ty Nant Nursing Home in Cymmer last Friday, leaves behind his wife, Pat, daughters Elaine and Louise, sons Peter and David, and four grandchildren. His funeral will be held at noon at Wednesday, 12pm at Margam Crematorium.

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