The first headteacher of Greenshaw High School celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary this week.

Reg Whellock, 98, and his wife Doreen, 92, marked their platinum anniversary on Tuesday with a meal with family who had visited from around the world, including a granddaughter who travelled from Sydney.

Mr Whellock single-handedly set up Greenshaw in 1967 as Sutton’s first state comprehensive, even designing the school badge.

The active member of Rotary Club of Sutton had met Doreen more than 20 years earlier, when he was a biology teacher at a grammar school in Yorkshire.

He was just 22 and she was 17, working in the school office.

They were engaged when he joined the Royal Navy to fight in the Second World War. They were married in Ipswich in 1942 when he had a week’s leave.

Mr Whellock said the secret to a successful marriage was having a wonderful family.

He said: “We took some wonderful holidays together. We have always been very happy.”

The couple, who live in Sanderstead, travelled extensively together to Malaysia, Uganda and India, when he was working for the Cambridge examining board.

During their travels they were invited for dinner with the Maharaja of Jaipur.

The couple moved to Croydon, after the war, with Mr Whellock working as a teacher at John Ruskin Grammar School.

It took him a year to set up Greenshaw, which opened in 1968. He stayed there as a headmaster until he retired in 1979.

Describing setting up the school, he said: “I had no school, no pupils, no secretary, no staff, nothing except a sea of mud and some iron girders.”

Mr Whellock, who writes a regular column for the Sutton Rotary Club, which he has been a member of for more than 40 years, has also released a biology textbook during his career, and taught for 17 years at Croydon Polytechnic, which is now Croydon College.