independent

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Late Philip Cleere was once youngest primary school principal in Ireland

PHILIP CLEERE, who passed away on Saturday, was at one time the youngest primary school principal in the country.

As a national school principal, first aid instructor, father and friend, he spent his life sharing his vast knowledge and helping others.

Philip, who lived with his wife Anne in Bishopswater, sadly died suddenly at his home on Saturday morning. He was just 58 years of age.

Born in New Ross, the son of the late Anna and Michael Cleere, Philip came to Wexford as a very young boy when his father got a job in Fine Wool Fabrics.

He grew up in 4 Maudlintown, and was was educated in both the CBS Primary and Secondary schools before he went on to earn his teaching degree in St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra.

His first teaching position was in the CBS primary in Enniscorthy before he took up his next job in Barntown. At the age of 23 he was appointed to the principal's position in Murrintown National School, and he was the youngest principal in the country at the time.

From there he went to Mayglass where he remained until his retirement three years ago.

He was also very popular among his teaching peers, and campaigned through his involvement with the INTO for better pay and conditions for teachers.

Indeed he was an INTO delegate to congress for several decades, and remained active in the union throughout his tenure as a teacher.

His door was always open to help other teachers, and every worry or concern given to him by a colleague was met with sympathy and in the strictest confidence.

Philip was also a life long member of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps, an organisation which he joined at 10 years of age.

He was heavily involved with the organisation and served as their officer in charge for five years.

His weekends were spent in uniform, stewarding with the Wexford Unit, while he was also a national instructor and examiner.

He was also very involved with Civil Defence and travelled all over the county to give first aid instruction to recruits.

He loved quizzes, and was responsible for starting the annual festival pub quiz which raises cash for the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps.

He was the question setter, and also liked to MC events.

He also organised race nights for the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps, which brought in much needed cash for vital equipment.

During the summer months he organised the annual Rural School Sports competitions in Bree.

He was a devoted father, who idolised his four children, Fiona, Tony, Siobhán and Aoife. He was also looking forward to the arrival of his first grandchildren this year.

The cornerstone of his family, he was very close to his brothers and sisters, and was also at the centre of organising all family get-togethers.

A very sociable man, who enjoyed nothing more than a night out, he was an affable soul who had time for everyone.

He met his wife Anne, the love of his life, at the age of 16, and they were united and loving as a couple throughout their 42 years together.

A lovely man, who never had a bad word for anyone, he will be greatly missed.

He is survived by his wife Anne; son Tony; daughters Fiona, Siobhan and Aoife; brothers Michael and Ger; sisters Mary, Annette, Doreen and Rita; nephews nieces, relatives and friends.

His remains were interred in St. Ibar's Cemetery, Crosstown, on Tuesday following 10 a.m. Requiem Mass in the Church of the Assumption, Bride Street.

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