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Primary Education News
News Rodney Sabine obituary
My father, Rodney Sabine, who has died of a heart attack aged 66, was a hard man to categorise. If you had asked him his profession, he would have said "retired headteacher", but during his life he was also part of a troupe of young teachers who gave theatre performances in deprived areas during the summer holidays, ran a house clearance business with my mother, Fran, and lectured in education at King Alfred's college in Winchester (now the University of Winchester).
For many years he was the Liberal Democrat councillor for Alresford, in Hampshire, a place he loved thanks to its proximity to his beloved Watercress Line railway. He served as leader of Winchester city council from 2001 to 2002. For the last 10 years he lived near Limoges, in France, where he founded the La Souterraine English library. Serving the local French and British expat communities, the library has more than 300 members and 46 volunteers.
Aptly described by a friend as someone who "underneath a rather gruff exterior, was as knowledgable, cultured and erudite a person as I have ever met", my father was born in Windsor and educated at the Royal Grammar school, High Wycombe, and later at a teacher-training college in Bristol. He was headteacher of Medstead and Liphook primary schools in Hampshire, taking early retirement in 1992.
He had suffered since his teenage years with Crohn's disease and ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis. He never let himself be defined by illness and personal difficulties, and nothing could dampen his irrepressible enthusiasm. He texted me from hospital after breaking both shoulders to say: "They have the technology, they can rebuild me." However, two days after the operation he had a heart attack in the arms of his French fiancee, Christel, whom he was due to marry the following month. Life will seem less colourful without him.
He is survived by Christel and her daughter, Sylvia; me and my brother, James; his sister, Tina; and two grandchildren, Toby and Evelyn. He was married to Fran from 1973 until their divorce in 1990.