Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Teacher who inspired England footballer Ian Wright has died

Sydney Pigden, teacher at Turnham Junior School on the Honor Oak estate, has died aged 92. Ian Wright who played for Arsenal and England, was one of Mr Pigden’s pupils. He later credited his former teacher as “the first positive male figure” in his life. He dedicated his autobiography A Life in Football to Pigden.

Ian Wright discusses his education with Sydney Pigden on You Tube

Sydney Charles Pigden was born at Sydenham on 25 April 1922 to a humble working class family.

Although an able pupil he had to leave school aged only 14 to help out with the family finances. His parents died the next year and he later gained his school certificate by studying at evening classes.

During the war he served in the RAF as a pilot. Mentioned in dispatches, he was demobbed in 1946 as a Flying Officer.

He trained as a teacher at Wandsworth Teacher Training College and then taught at a school in Catford before moving to Turnham.

The Local History and Archives Centre has a longer, hard copy, obituary in the Subject Files which is available on request.

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