TRIBUTES to a former headteacher of a Rawtenstall school, who was born and raised in Blackburn, have flooded in following his sudden death.

Michael Savage, head of All Saints Catholic High School from 1987 to 1993, died of a suspected heart attack at home last week.

Michael, 65, a keen Blackburn Rovers fan, has been remembered as having ‘a great deal of empathy, humanity and understanding’ by a senior teacher who worked with him at the Haslingden Road school.

His wife, Sheila, also a retired teacher, described her shock at finding her husband of 42 years collapsed in their garden as he had not suffered any symptoms since being diagnosed with angina 14 years ago.

She said: “I heard a noise and went outside and he had collapsed from a heart attack. I’m lucky because my next door neighbours are nurses and they came straight over, but it was too late.

“It stunned everybody because he’s never had any symptoms. It’s very, very difficult. We’ve always done everything together He was always very kind, caring and loving. He was always very organised and methodical.

“He knew he wanted to be a teacher from a young age, and was very passionate about it. After he retired, he became a school governor because he loved it so much.”

The couple, who were due to go to Tuscany on holiday this week, met at Leeds Trinity and All Saints College in Horsforth in 1966, when Michael was studying geography and Sheila was studying sociology. They married five years later.

The couple taught in the Leeds area before moving to Silsden, Yorkshire, when Michael entered All Saints in Rawtenstall as head.

Elizabeth Woolley, senior assistant headteacher at the school, said: “He was a charismatic character with a calm and professional presence. He was well respected by staff, pupils and the community alike.

“Mike was tolerant, yet he expected and received total commitment from his staff.

“He had a great deal of empathy, humanity and understanding and led the school with dignity and faith.”

Michael leaves his younger brothers Paul and Alban. A requiem mass will be held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel RC Church in Silsden tomorrow at 11am, followed by the burial at Silsden Cemetery. Donations can be made to the British Heart Foundation or Cancer Research UK.