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Back to school for Telford's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? teacher

By Nick Humphreys | Telford | Telford entertainment | Published:

"Don can work really well when he wants to and has good general knowledge."

Don Fear and students at Haberdashers' Adams Grammar School in Newport

That was what was written on the school report of a six-year-old Don Fear, Telford's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire jackpot winner. It now seems like understatement of the century.

After a whirlwind of attention and celebrations following the screening of his glorious moment on Friday evening, teacher Don was welcomed back to school at Haberdasher's Adams in Newport yesterday by cheering students and delighted colleagues.

Though he won't be there much longer - he handed in his notice the day after winning the top prize and will finish in December.

"It's a wonderful school and the kids blow me away every day with how clever they are and how nice they are. But winning the money gives me the chance to take retirement a couple of years early and I want to enjoy it."

It was Don who blew the nation away with his supreme performance on the show, answering the questions in a mere 20 minutes and only using one of his four lifelines.

WATCH the incredible moment Don Fear won a million:

Donald Fear WINS £1,000,000 with THREE lifelines left! | Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? | ITV

His students past and present will have known all about his incredible knowledge - host Jeremy Clarkson said it was "like sitting next to the internet in a pink shirt". And while celebrations were in force, things could have been so much different for the history and politics head.

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He almost gave up his gift of passing his knowledge on to Shropshire's youngsters to become an Asda delivery driver. It came after the closure of Wakeman School in Shrewsbury in 2013.

He said: "I'm very fortunate. I filled in the application form but then the next day the phone went and there was a chance to go to Adams Grammar. It's been fantastic."

After watching the show back at home with his family and receiving hearty congratulations from brother Davyth, who previously won £500,000 on the show, Don spent the weekend being patted on the back, snapped by paperazzi and trying to sift through mountains of messages.

But having had chance to reflect, he shared his secrets to quiz show success.

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Don is a regular at the pub quiz at the Red Lion in Wellington, and he also prepared by watching reruns of quiz programmes.

Don Fear at Haberdashers' Adams Grammar School in Newport

"I've been doing the quiz at the Red Lion on Wellington for about five or six years. Shout out to Jules, who is a fantastic quiz master.

"We have a good team. There are a couple of my ex students and a couple of other friends. We complement each other. I don't actually answer many, but I'm there for the proper questions!"

He added: "I appeared calm on TV because I was calm. As part of my preparation I watch dozens of programmes like it, so when I got in the chair I was relaxed.

"I see an awful lot of people waste lifelines because they lack confidence, not because they don't know the answer. On a lot of the shows I watched, I would have still been in the chair after the contestant left so thought I could do well.

"They were hard questions but I just happened to know the answers.

"I think the one most would have found the hardest was the landmarks question. I was extremely lucky with how they fell. There was no trivia. I was waiting for the tough one that I didn't know to come up but thankfully it didn't come.

"Being a history teacher, I know a lot of dates. If you can remember dates it helps you contextualise other things like when a certain composer was around."

Now Don is looking at planning some trips away in the new year, though he's still got to wait for his winnings to land in his bank account before going too wild.

"It's difficult to plan at the moment but also because I haven't got the money yet," he said. "It won't come through for about a month.

"I'll be retiring in January so it'll be time to go and explore. I'm thinking of Canada for an early trip, but I don't know if going in winter is a good idea.

"I'm going to be getting a motorhome, but there's no rush at the moment. I'd like to go on safari."

While the money gives him freedom to run off into the sunset with wife Deb, an alternative career has piqued his interest.

Asked whether he'd fancy mixing it with quizzing heavyweights and becoming a Chaser or an Egghead, Don said: "I'd love to be a professional quizzer. My family are quite keen on having a show called Beat the Brothers with me and Davyth.

"He was made up, so delighted for me. We're so close as a family "

He added: "It's rubbish at the moment with Covid-19. It's a really miserable situation for a lot of people. We're living in turbulent times, so it was nice to be able to provide a bit of good news.

"I feel like I'm flying the flag for Shropshire and for ordinary people."

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Shrewsbury.

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