Tributes were paid to a former Richard Challoner headteacher this week.

Family and students celebrated the life of John Gwynn with a ceremony at the school in Manor Drive North this week.

Mr Gwynn died, aged 77, on October 9 last year.

Headteacher Tom Cahill, who succeeded Mr Gwynn in 1994, said: “John was a true gentlemen and a scholar and many of us owe a great deal to this gentle and humble man.

“May he rest in the love, light and peace of Jesus Christ.”

Mr Gwynn was born in 1937 to a French-born English father and a French mother.

He attended Wimbledon College before getting a scholarship to Queen’s College, Oxford, where he studied Russian and French. It was in Oxford he met his future wife, Anne.

Having gained a British Council scholarship Mr Gwynn took part in a Russian exchange, which gave him his lifelong fascination with the country.

He even listened to Russian submarine and aircraft radio during his national service in Fife with the RAF.

He returned to Eastern Europe with a group of staff from Richard Challoner, as the school made its first links with schools in Hungary.

Their 1989 visit took place just as Hungarian independence was declared.

Mr Gwynn headed Richard Challoner for 17 years until 1994. He also taught European Studies to sixth formers.

During his tenure, the school amalgamated the sixth form with girls from Holy Cross School in New Malden.

Recalling this, he once said: “On one occasion I called back one of the young ladies who was running along the top corridor [a major crime] and roundly rebuked her only to discover that she was one of our new young probationary teachers who was hurrying to her class.”

The former headteacher also revitalised the Parent-Teacher Association.

After finishing his teaching career he retired to Balbeggie in Scotland for 18 years where he published a history of Balbeggie with his wife.

Mr Gwynn is survived by his wife Anne, children Sarah, Peter and Robert and by seven grandchildren.