A TEACHER and professional footballer from Rotherham described as a “true legend” has died aged 85.
Geoffrey Lees (pictured), who played for Barnsley and Bradford City, died in a care home in Maltby on June 5 after battling Alzheimer’s disease for 18 years.
Originally from Clifton, Mr Lees spent most of his life living in Ravenfield.
Sent on national service when in 1950, Mr Lees was stationed at Oswestry in Shropshire, where he initially trained as a radar operator, but went on to become a PT instructor.
Mr Lees had two weeks training in the Army PT school in Aldershot and it was here his family said he thought about taking up a career in teaching.
He was also a talented footballer and after his national service, spent two years playing for Bradford City before heading off to training college,
He also played for Barnsley FC.
Despite going on to pursue his dream of becoming a teacher full time, the love of the game never left him and he worked as a scout for several clubs, including Leeds United, Queens Park Rangers and Barnsley FC.
His family said he spent most of his Saturdays at matches.
During his teaching career, Mr Lees started off working at Oakwood School, before moving to Rawmarsh Comprehensive in the late 1950s to work as a PE teacher.
He also taught geography and history and later became the head of their upper school.
A number of tributes have been posted on social media in his memory, with former pupils describing him as a “great teacher” and a “lovely man”.
Mr Lees retired from teaching at the age of 60 and his family said he lived for his love of football as well as his children and four grandchildren.
The football fanatic, whose wife Ann died in 2015, leaves children Kate, Michael and Robbie.
Mr Lees’ family said the family were grateful for people getting in touch with their memories of him, which had made them “laugh, cry and smile”
The family added: “He inspired so many lives, not only his family’s.
“He had such an incredible life and he will never be forgotten — he was a great man and a true legend.”
Mr Lees’ funeral was held at Ravenfield Church last week.