My friend Malcolm Lever, who has died aged 76 of Covid-19, was a headteacher in the West Midlands. He also served as a school governor and magistrate, and was a Labour party activist in the Birmingham area.
Born and brought up in Oldham, he was the son of James, a miner, and his wife, Helen (nee Taylor), a shop worker. From Greenhill grammar school Malcolm went to Birmingham to train as a primary school teacher at Westhill College in Selly Oak, where he met Judith Male, whom he married in 1968.
His first teaching post was at Langley primary school in 1967, and six years later he became deputy head at Parkhill junior school. In 1982 he was appointed head of Timbertree primary school in Cradley Heath, staying there until his retirement in 2004.
A member of the NUT, he was a local secretary for the union and later a trustee of its pension fund. He was also a long-serving magistrate on the Birmingham bench and chaired the lord chancellor’s advisory committee for the city.
He and Judith lived in Harborne, south-west Birmingham, for 50 years and were our neighbours. As a Labour activist, Malcolm enjoyed a good political discussion and was never afraid of expressing his views, especially if he felt the behaviour of others did not match his standards. He was interested in people and all sorts of political matters, not least through being a devoted reader of the Guardian.
Apart from his family, Malcolm loved dogs, rugby (one knew better than to contact him during a Six Nations match), cricket, music and walking. For many years he was part of a group of friends who tried to go walking about once a month. We had many great outings, usually followed by excellent meals, which in Malcolm’s eyes surpassed expectations if they included meat and potato pie with a bottle of red.
Judith died in 2019. He is survived by his children, Matthew, Kate and Ben, and seven grandchildren.