A HIGHLY respected educationalist and historian has died, aged 83.

Gordon Batho was a professor of education at Durham University from 1975 to 1988, before becoming emeritus professor.

He was founder and director of the History of Education Project, which aimed to help long-term jobless people improve their skills and employability.

Prof Batho, of Archery Rise, Durham City, died in the University Hospital of North Durham on Wednesday, February 13, following a short illness.

Born in London, at 15 he shocked his teachers at Ealing Grammar School by writing to a local newspaper seeking support to found a new branch of the Historical Association.

After studying at the University of London, he worked as a teacher and then education lecturer at Sheffield University before moving to Durham.

Prof Batho had many other interests, including serving as a governor at Polam Hall School, in Darlington; and Parochial Church Council secretary at St Giles’ Church, Gilesgate.

He was involved with Durham County Local History Society and life president of the Historical Association’s Durham branch and was awarded the Norton Medlicott medal for outstanding services to history.

He has overseen the publication of seven volumes of Durham Biographies, with the most recent released late last year.

He is survived by his widow Hilary, sons Richard and Paul and three grandchildren. His funeral will be held at St Giles’ Church on Monday, February 25, at 11am.