Funeral Service



Service Details:
A private family funeral service will be held.

George Anthony Quirke

Peacefully in Herncliffe on 10th April 2020, George aged 83 years formerly of Clayton Le Moors. The devoted husband of the late Pat, much loved dad of Margaret, Frances, Michael, Anne Marie, Andrew and Sarah, a dear father in law of John, Yolanda and Caleb, cherished grandad ‘Jud’ of  Christopher, Joseph,  Anna Patricia,  Danielle, Finlay and Seamus, also close friend to Mary.

George will be sadly missed but fondly remembered by all who had the pleasure of knowing and loving him.

George Quirke became the youngest Secondary school headmaster in Lancashire when he was promoted from the Deputy Headship at St Edmund Arrowsmith (later St Bede’s) in 1974. George served in this post until his retirement in 1994. At this time of his retirement, St Bede’s was the most successful and sought-after Catholic State Secondary school in the region. 

George was born in 1936 in the Isle of Wight (where his father was working). The elder of 2 children of Irish immigrants, he grew up in Woolton, South Liverpool, was educated at St Edward’s Boys Grammar School in Liverpool and subsequently studied his degree and PGCE teaching certificate at Leeds University. In Leeds he met his wife Pat Quinn. George and Pat were married in 1960. They had 6 children between the years of 1962 and 1969. George lived in Clayton-le-Moors from 1971 until his death.

George excelled at Rugby and captained both Lancashire schoolboys and Leeds University. But his true passion was Everton Football Club. He attended his first game at Goodison during the war at the age of 7 in 1943. He was a season ticket holder and regularly attended home and away games until 2016.

His early days as a Comprehensive School Headmaster took place against the background of the gradual incorporation of Catholic Secondary Schools into the comprehensive educational reform. Despite the resistance of much of the Catholic School hierarchy and of Catholic Grammar schools in Lancashire to this integration, George was a passionate advocate of an egalitarian education system. The Christian socialist principles of George and his wife Pat (also a teacher at St Edmund Arrowsmith) led them to believe firmly in the Catholic Church’s social mission and that education existed to create equal opportunities for all children. Always an inclusive school, George was particularly proud for St Bede’s to welcome children from families of all faiths, a particularly poignant approach in a town as ethnically divided as Blackburn.

Aside from Everton, George was an enthusiastic Leeds Rugby League supporter. He was also a keen snooker player, fan and local League referee. In the years after his retirement George and Pat travelled to Ireland and more regularly to Spain, where 2 of their children resided. They owned a holiday residence in Malaga but were always particularly keen to immerse themselves in Spanish culture, particularly in Madrid and Andalusia.

Pat died in 2009. George leaves 6 children and 6 grandchildren.

George Anthony Quirke, born Isle of Wight April 15, 1936, died Herncliffe Care Home, Keighley, West Yorkshire, April 10, 2020.

Donations in memory of George are being gratefully received online to the Alzheimer’s Society – please click the donate button at the end of this page.

Please feel free to send a message for the family of George Anthony Quirke. They may wish to read them out at the service and some will be published after the form below.

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Jennifer Holden  
Sincerest condolences on the death of George.
I admired him both as a Headmaster and a man. He could put the fear of God into you but you also knew that he would be there if you needed him. The pupils were always his first concern and that is why it was such a privilege to work in his school.
When he retired St Bede’s lost one of the best Heads they could ever have had. He was a firm Headmaster, a compassionate man and a man of principle .
My deepest sympathy goes out to his children and grandchildren and I hope they will be comforted by remembering all the good times they had together as a family..


Robin Condon

So sad to learn of Mr Quirke’s passing (my Headmaster in 1974…St Edmund Arrowsmith RC)
A brilliant headmaster, very firm, but always very fair….and always funny. Made a lasting impression on me now 62 years of age.
R.I.P Mr Quirke (Sir).
Former Pupil
Robin Condon


Alan Padden

An inspirational teacher who will be lovingly remembered by those whose futures owe much to ‘George’ RIP