A MEMORIAL service is to be held for a former headmaster and pillar of the community.

Peter Morton was the second headmaster of North Cestrian School in Altrincham and led its pupils for more than 30 years.

Mr Morton sadly died in June of last year, age 91. His life and career will be celebrated on February 2, to coincide with the Old Cestrians' Association Annual Reunion Dinner.

Joining the school as a teacher in 1954, Mr Morton assumed the position of headmaster in 1963. He retired 33 years on in 1996.

During his time, he ushered in an era of modernisation for the school as a young headmaster.

His successor as headteacher, David Vanstone, said pupils admired Mr Morton greatly: "He absolutely shaped the school. He was there for generations of pupils throughout that time and he was very hands on and involved.

"He was a very commanding presence. He was a very strong character.

"Peter knew everyone in his school. Even into his late 80s, he could remember them."

Mr Vanstone added that Mr Morton championed "the concept of giving an opportunity to people who would not progress in another environment.

"In school, he was running sports teams, he took the very first ski trip to Switzerland in the 1950s and it's still talked about!"

Mr Morton welcomed new developments in his tenure, including a sports hall, bigger classrooms, kitchens and a dining hall.

North Cestrian named the new science building after the former head to pay tribute to his commitment to pushing the school forward.

Pupils from across the world have already made their plans to return to the place where they spent their youth. The school is hoping to welcome back as many former students as possible with this opportunity to share their fond memories of Mr Morton.

The incumbent head, Lee Bergin, said: "The people who would know him best would be the pupils at the school.

"He knew their families, he knew the nuances and he knew their characters.

"The pupils are his greatest legacy."

The service will take place at 5pm at St Margaret's Church, Dunham Road, Bowden.

It will be followed by the commemorative dinner from 7.30pm onwards.