Environmentalist football star dies aged 100

Harry Clark with wife Betty.
Harry Clark with wife Betty.
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A FOOTBALL star, education pioneer and environmental crusader has died at the age of 100.

Harry Clark played for teams including Manchester City and Accrington Stanley and forged a friendship with England star Sir Stanley Matthews when they were both in the RAF during the Second World War.

He only signed up as a pro at the age of 31, after refusing agreements so that he could play locally and run school teams, and had a host of other athletic achievements.

In peace time, he returned to teaching and worked at Camden Square in Seaham.

As its headteacher, the school became the first in the UK to use a computer to timetable classes. He also worked alongside universities to raise schools’ efficiency using technology and championed IT across the country.

He retired at 80 and spent time campaigning, including as part of Seaham Environmental Association (SEA).

In 2001, he was made an MBE for services to the community, with Durham County Council’s Chairman’s medal, awards from Rotary International and Seaham Town Council among his other accolades.

Professor Malcolm Hooper, of SEA, said: “He was a great warrior for justice.”

Alan Foots, 80, of Seaton, a member of Mr Clark’s football team at Camden Square in 1947 when the squad won the Londonderry School Cup, added: “He was a brilliant mind, very highly-qualified in all sorts of areas, not just teaching.”

Mr Clark leaves son Don, 60, and stepsons John Perry, 61, and Geoff Perry, 59, the children of his third wife Betty, who died in 2012.

He was married to Ruby, who died in 1949 of breast cancer, and Phyllis, who died in a car crash in 1970, and also lost daughter Ann to breast cancer.

His humanist funeral will be held on Friday at 11am at Sunderland Crematorium.