My former teacher Nigel Johnson, who has died aged 86, taught English at schools in Anglesey, Germany and Cheshire over a 30-year career in which he was unusually dedicated to trying to bring out the best in his pupils.
Nigel was born in Scarborough, where his parents, Phyllis (nee Birdsall) and Cecil Johnson, owned a women’s clothes shop. After attending Scarborough high school for boys, he did his national service in the Royal Navy.
He had cheated on the initial navy eye test by listening to other people’s answers as he sat in the queue outside, but was soon rumbled during a second test, and though he was admitted to the service he was never posted to sea, instead running a library at a naval base near Nuneaton. After national service he did a general arts degree at Durham University, where he was an avid rower, and followed up with a diploma in education.
Graduating in 1960, he…