A FORMER Billericay head teacher who was an "impressive character" and "fiercely proud of his school" has died aged 81.
Arthur Lingard was on a cruise in the Baltic with his wife Elizabeth when he suffered a heart attack and could not be resuscitated.
He died on June 12.
Yorkshire born Mr Lingard leaves behind Elizabeth, their daughter Susan, their sons Richard and Michael and six grandchildren.
Mr Lingard, who lived in Westcliff-on-Sea, was appointed as the head of The Billericay School in 1969 and retired in 1991.
In the early 1970s he started the annual exchange link with a German school, the Albert Einstein Gymnasium in Reutlingen, and in the years that followed, thousands of students from both countries benefited from the initiative.
The student exchanges are still taking place and the now retired principal of the German school, Christian Keil, who was friends with Mr Lingard for over 40 years said: "I am shocked by the news.
"I will miss Arthur very much – he was such a good friend."
Together with former Essex education officer, Eric Dixon, Mr Lingard introduced hundreds of Billericay children to touring other countries through school cruises to a number of destinations throughout the 1970s.
Peter Owen, Billericay School governor for the past 38 years, explained: "This cultivated a love of cruising for Mr and Mrs Lingard, who enjoyed worldwide voyages in the years that followed his retirement.
"It was an irony that back on board the Royal Caribbean liner Brilliance of the Seas, after a tour of Stockholm, that he should be recounting memories of another wonderful day spent when he collapsed."
Mr Owen continued: "Arthur was an impressive character who was fiercely proud of his school.
"He will not be forgotten by the thousands for whose future he took a keen interest and responsibility.
"At home he was known as a kind man, loved by his family and in particular by his six grandchildren on whom he doted and who are said to be heartbroken by his sudden death."
Mr Lingard became a Churchill Fellow, for his services to education a role that involved visits to the United States.
He was also a former member of Billericay Rotary Club.
Eileen Simmons, who worked as a deputy head for ten years at The Billericay School, spoke of her former colleague: "Arthur Lingard was an inspiring head teacher, who made Billericay School a fine school with an excellent reputation and cohorts of pupils have been proud to say they were educated there.
"His strength was to have exceptionally high expectations of pupils and staff.
"He was highly skilled at appointing exceptionally good teachers, who were able to bring out the best in pupils.
"As a teacher he was superb and his sixth-form history lessons will never be forgotten by those fortunate students.
"He has influenced the lives of large numbers of people, who have contributed much to the common good and this will be his legacy."
Another deputy head in the 1970s at The Billericay School was Mike Trett, who said: "Arthur was a great inspiration to me and he helped my career significantly during my time at the school.
"We remained in contact and often met together to share experiences. He made the school's name well known for excellence in education to the benefit of its many pupils and his legacy lives on."
The current head teacher Sue Hammond, said: "All those at The Billericay School who remember Arthur Lingard are very saddened to hear of his passing.
"He was a very highly respected figure whose legacy continues to live on for those who have come after him – students and staff alike.
"The values he established at this school – hard work, high aspirations, a love of education and pride in our school – remain to this day and he will continue to be remembered with much affection."
A memorial service to celebrate Mr Lingard's life is to be organised by his family at the end of July.