A popular former headteacher at a Fylde coast school has died following a short illness.
Robert Karling, 55, was headteacher at King Edward VII and Queen Mary School in Lytham – now known as Arnold KEQMS School – between 2003 and 2012. He died on Sunday after a battle with cancer.
Mr Karling, who was appointed at the Clifton Drive South-based school after Julian Wilde, had been rector at Kelvinside Academical Club in Glasgow since January 2012.
A statement from Kelvinside Academical Club said: “The whole Kelvinside Academy community is devastated by the tragic and sudden loss of our inspirational Rector, Robert Karling, who died after a short illness on Sunday.
“Our thoughts and sincere heartfelt condolences are with his wife Julia and their sons Michael and Jonathan Karling.”
Mr Karling left the St Annes-based school in January 2012 ahead of the controversial merger between King Edward VII and Queen Mary School and Arnold School, based in Blackpool.
In a letter sent to parents at the time, he said: “It has been a privilege to serve King Edward VII and Queen Mary School (KEQMS) for the last eight years and I thank you for the support, care and love you have given me.”
Today deputy head teacher Judith Cooper praised the impact Mr Karling had on school life.
Mrs Cooper added: “Robert Karling was an inspirational leader who always acted with the utmost dignity and integrity.
“He was admired, loved and respected by our whole school community and will always be remembered as a true gentleman.”
Mr Karling’s sons, Michael, 23, and Jonathan, 20, were both taught at KEQMS, with Michael now studying a masters degree in engineering at Strathclyde University, with Jonathan studying a zoology degree at The University of Nottingham.
Mrs Cooper added: “Both boys went through the school and played a part in school life.
“Robert got everyone involved in activites and he himself took part in games, whether it be umpiring cricket matches, taking hockey or coaching rugby teams.
“He threw himself into extra-curricular activities. He was fully involved in all aspects of school life and had a great sense of humour.
“He was greatly involved in the school’s centenary celebrations, commissioning a sculpture to be put in place of a wave in front of the school entrance.
“He developed outdoor education in the school, with him feeling every student should go out to the great outdoors.
“He taught every Year 7 student and knew every child’s name and every parent’s name.
“When he left the school in 2012 much of the school was very, very upset and by devastated by it.”
Mr Karling took over the role as headteacher at KEQMS in 2003 from predecessor Julian Wilde.
Today Mr Wilde paid his own tribute to Mr Karling.
He told The Gazette: “Robert Karling took over from me as the second principal of King Edward and Queen Mary School in 2003 and worked very hard over the next eight years to establish the school on the single King Edward’s site.
“He won the affection of many parents and pupils as a caring and thoughtful leader.
“I was very saddened to hear of his untimely death and the thoughts of very many connected with the school will be with his wife Julia and his two boys.”
Tributes from parents on the Kelvinside Academical Centre Facebook page included comments from parents in Lytham.
Rosemary Roy said: “He was a wonderful headteacher at KEQMS Lytham also. Greatly respected, admired and loved by his pupils and their parents. He will not be forgotten. My thoughts are with Julia and the boys – they will all miss him terribly I am sure!”
Julia Warren added: “So very sad – he was an inspirational leader at KEQMS our thoughts are with Julia and the boys.”