Tributes to former Kirkcaldy High School assistant rector Wilf Allsop

Wilf Allsop
Wilf Allsop

Former Kirkcaldy High School English teacher and assistant rector Wilf Allsop has died at the age of 82.

He passed away at Glenrothes Hospital on December 27, just a day after celebrating his 54th wedding anniversary.

Born in Arbroath, Wilf had a great love of football and played for Arbroath Football Club’s juvenile section, where he was capped for Scotland before being called up by Hearts, which enabled him to pay his way through Edinburgh University. It was here that he met his wife Evlyn, and they were married on Boxing Day in North Berwick in 1959.

He was then forced to make a decision between becoming a professional footballer or an English teacher, and his love of the English language won over.

He began his career in North Berwick, then Elgin Academy and Preston Lodge before coming to Kirkcaldy High School as principal teacher of English in 1968, where he immediately established himself as a passionate and enthusiastic teacher, popular with all of his pupils.

His interests in the town centred on Kirkcaldy Bowling Club, Bethelfield Church and Raith Rovers. At the ‘Big Green’, he became President in 1984 and acted as secretary for over 12 years before being made an honorary member.

In the late 1970s Wilf joined the Bowhill People’s Burns Club, and recited and delivered the Immortal Memory at functions throughout Scotland.

Wilf and Evlyn moved to Glenrothes in 1988 where he kept up his connection with Bowhill and they both joined Christ’s Kirk Glenrothes, where they made many close friends.

Author Val McDermid was around 13 years old when he came to KHS, and she told the Press: “I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today without Wilf’s help.

“He was an amazing teacher who became a very close friend. Right away you could tell he was one of those remarkable teachers who had a great passion for his subject as well as tremendous communication skills.

“He communicated his enthusiasm for the English language to his pupils, and he was also very supportive of their creativity. He encouraged us to use our imaginations.

“When I decided I wanted to go to Oxford University he gave up his free periods to teach me areas of the syllabus that we hadn’t covered in classes. He did that for a whole term so that I would have covered everything I needed to know.

‘‘Afterwards, because he knew I was pretty skint, he loaned me a lot of the books I needed for my course.

“That was the kind of man he was. He was a man who had a great, generous spirit and open heartedness and he lifted people up. He will be very much missed.”

Mr Allsop is survived by his wife Evlyn, son Stewart, daughter Kay and his beloved grandchildren.

His funeral will take place on Tuesday (January 7) at 10.00 a.m. at Christ’s Kirk, Pitcoudie, Glenrothes.