Ian Smith, who has died aged 92, was a highly-respected school teacher as well as a talented athlete in his youth.

He taught at four schools – in Oxford, Kidlington and Wheatley – during his 40-year career.

Mr Smith was born and grew up in Headington Quarry and attended Headington Quarry School and Southfield Grammar School in Glanville Road, East Oxford, now Oxford Spires Academy.

He did his National Service in Germany and Ireland, then trained as a teacher at Culham College, near Abingdon.

He taught at Wheatley Secondary School and moved to Gosford Hill School, Kidlington, in 1955, taking charge of maths and sport.

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Soon after his arrival at Gosford Hill, football teams won the Oxfordshire Schools’ Shield and Cup, the first and only time a school achieved the double in the same season.

Oxford Mail:

The school’s football, cricket and athletics teams went on to enjoy further success in later years under his guidance.

He was so revered as a teacher that seven of his former Gosford Hill pupils attended his 90th birthday celebrations in 2018, including two who travelled from Devon and the Isle of Wight.

Former pupil Tony Steele recalled: “Ian spotted, nurtured and encouraged sporting talent. Gosford Hill, a school devoid of significant sporting success, quickly became synonymous with producing teams and individuals of considerable ability.”

Mr Smith left Gosford Hill in 1969 to become deputy head of Northway Secondary School. He finished his career as deputy head of Marston Middle School.

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In his youth, Mr Smith was a successful middle-distance athlete and was one of many spectators at Iffley Road in 1954 to see Roger Bannister break the four-minute barrier for the mile.

He was among the first party of athletes to travel to Oxford’s Dutch twin city of Leiden soon after the twinning link was formed in 1946.

In 1996, as a long-standing member of the Oxford-Leiden Link, he was invited to unveil a stained-glass window at Oxford Town Hall to mark the 50th anniversary of the twinning.

In retirement, he also became well known for taking in and looking after retired racing greyhounds at his home in Headington.

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Mr Smith married his long-term partner, Ruth Sylvester, in 2018. He and his first wife, Doris, who died of cancer 20 years ago, had three daughters, Sara, Julia and Diana, and a son, Alec. He also leaves five grandchildren and a great grandchild. The funeral service takes place at Oxford Crematorium tomorrow.