Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > Fondly Remembered > Don Hassall OH 1943-50

Don Hassall OH 1943-50

We recently learnt of the sad passing of Don Hassall (OH 1943-50 ) who died at the end of 2022.  His daughter, Julia Hassall wrote the following obituary:

My father, Don Hassall, who has died aged 89, was an educationist and lay preacher who worked in Bradford for much of his career. A socialist and a pacifist, he met his wife, Zoe Wiley, a fever nurse, while working as a hospital orderly instead of undertaking military national service.

Don was born in Manchester, to May (nee Ridd), a clerical worker, and Arthur Hassall, who worked for the electricity board. The family moved to Hull, East Yorkshire when Don was five and he attended Hymers College there. After graduating from Leeds University with a degree in English, French, and History, Don became a teacher of Religious Education.

He and Zoe married in 1957, and in the same year, he joined the staff of Hemsworth Grammar School in Wakefield. He moved in 1962 to Havelock School in Grimsby, then in 1964 to Margaret MacMillan College, a further and higher education college in Bradford (now known as Bradford College), where he rose to become head of teacher education and remained for the rest of his career.

Between 1973 and 1974, Don took a sabbatical from his role to gain an MA in Religious Studies and Education at Lancaster University. Back at Bradford College, he played a major role in developing the approved Religious Education syllabus for Bradford Education Authority, was responsible for building up undergraduate and postgraduate primary teacher training, and developed a number of in-service professional development courses including the Master of Education Degree in conjunction with the University of Bradford.

In the early 1990s, he and colleagues arranged for Bradford students to undertake teaching practice in Pakistan. After formally retiring in 1993, he worked with the Urban Learning Foundation in London and assessed religious education in primary schools across North Yorkshire.

Don sought to bring people together. A member of the congregation at Eldwick Methodist Church, near Bingley, where he was a Sunday School co-ordinator, steward, and treasurer, described him as someone who “lived what he believed and always treated others with respect – even lively teenagers”.

As a teacher of religious education, he always looked for core principles and values in different faiths that united rather than divided people.

In 2001, during the Bradford riots, he wrote to the Bradford Telegraph and Argus on behalf of local schools and religious leaders to “affirm our support for and belief in Bradford as a multifaith and multicultural city”.

During this period, he helped develop the Interfaith Education Centre in Bradford, using his scholarly knowledge of world religions and skillful communication to find connections and understandings between faith groups and communities.

In retirement, Don loved spending time with his grandchildren, skimming stones in the sea, making up exciting stories, and planning grand expeditions to Cornwall. In later years, when he developed dementia, roles changed and Zoe supported him.

Zoe survives him, as do his daughters – my sister, Sue, and me – his grandchildren, Lucy, Matthew, and Annabel, and his great-grandson, Malachi.

Similar stories

Most read

Andy with his grandson

We heard from former Junior School Teacher, Andy Taylor about his memories of Hymers More...

David with wife Cheryl on a visit in 2016

David Meggitt (OH 1952-62) reflected on his time at Hymers and how his Civil Engineering career combined with music More...

Paul Scott (OH 1986-96) started the website business, Eyeweb, with a friend in 2002 More...

Have your say

This website is powered by