Former teacher turned actor and comedian heaps praise on Thomas Adams School staff

A former teacher turned actor and comedian has heaped praise on former teachers at Thomas Adams School in Wem.

Greg Davies, star of The Inbetweeners, Cuckoo, Man Down and regular comedy panellist, said two teachers at the Lowe Hill Road school helped encourage him.

Writing in the Times Education Supplement Mr Davies said: “I had some great teachers and I’m sure I learned a great deal from them. But my two favourites were Ed Lamont and Derek Evans,

English teachers at Thomas Adams School in Shropshire, who taught me on and off from year nine right through to A-level.

“The reason they are my favourites is the same for both of them: they ignited within me a love of literature and for the arts generally.

“They were also probably the first people to take me to the theatre.

“But it was more than that: they were the first teachers who actually listened to us – that’s how we all felt and that’s why we still speak of them in such fond terms. I was in a group of friends at school who were constantly making up nonsense comedy sketches. Mr Lamont used to run an arts festival and he allowed us to do silly comedy sketches for it.

“We were also in a terrible comedy band called Doom Trivia. One thing that really sticks in my mind is the occasion when Doom Trivia recorded an album on a cassette, which I’m sure was absolutely rubbish.

“Mr Evans took it home with him; after the weekend he came in and he had written a two-side review of the album.”

Mr Davies added he will never forget that teachers were engaging in the things that were exciting to him and his friends at the time.

“They were the first teachers where I felt it was a two-way street,” he said.

“I had a lot of great teachers, but Mr Lamont and Mr Evans were the ones who stood out for me: they were the ones who listened to me and encouraged me.

“As well as being great teachers of literature, they encouraged me to develop skills I am using now.”

Mr Davies went on to study English and drama at Brunel University and before embarking on a career in comedy, he taught drama and English for 13 years at schools in Berkshire and Middlesex.

Mr Lamont, who worked at Thomas Adams for 28 years and was deputy headteacher and head of sixth form during his time there, retired in 2005 but sadly died a year later after a short battle with cancer.

There is a building in Adams College sixth form named after him and his picture on the wall.

His left behind his wife Jean, who lives in Market Drayton and used to teach religious studies at Shrewsbury High School, and three children Sarah, 39, an English teacher in London, HR director Ben, 37, and Emily, 35, an educational researcher.

Sarah said her father would have been very pleased with the comments made.

She said: “We are all absolutely chuffed to bits.

“It was really nice coming a day after Father's Day as well because we all miss him terribly.

“He would be really pleased to hear this and absolutely delighted to know that pupil felt they were listened to by him.

“When I decided to go into teaching he said to me that you need to be on the kids side and build a relationship with every child, listen to them and know how important their opinions are.

“I have always remembered that and clearly that is how he taught.

“He would be delighted to be remembered for the non-educational reasons because he always said there was a lot more to teaching than just getting the kids through exams.”

Mr Lamont started his career at the Open University and taught for a short while at The Wakeman School in Shrewsbury before spending the rest of his career at Thomas Adams.

His family had sometimes wondered if Mr Lamont was some inspiration for Greg Davies’ character in The Inbetweeners, Mr Gilbert.

“I knew he taught Greg Davies and my brother always said he might have been some inspiration for it,” Sarah remembers.

“On his first day at Thomas Adams School he was actually late for work because my mum had locked him in the bathroom.

“He was quietly outrageous.”

Ed Lamont and Derek Evans were also great friends. Mr Lamont’s children used to call Mr Evans action man and said he had a great sense of fun.

Current headteacher at the school, Liz Dakin, said she felt immense pride when she read the supplement.

She said: "We are very proud of every former pupil from Thomas Adams.

"It is a highlight to hear Greg's comments about his time here and we are delighted that he felt inspired and we have helped to shape the person he is today.

"We try to ignite each one of our pupils with something that they love and nurture each of them to be the best they can and become a well rounded individual.

"To hear this feedback, and in an education supplement with is read by many others in the profession, is humbling and hopefully inspiring to today's teachers.

"Of course they would say they are just doing their job, but it's good to know it is a job well done."