FRITZ SCHILLIG, the founder of a language school which has taught more than 400,000 students to speak English, has died aged 87.

Born in Switzerland in 1929, Fritz started his career with an import and export company, where he realised that the future of global economies was in the ability to effectively communicate in English in order to trade with rapidly growing markets such as America.

He resigned from his job and travelled to England at the age of 21 to attend an English language course in Christchurch.

While on the course, he saw the potential to create a well-run and professional English language school, where only the highest quality of service in every aspect of the students’ experience would be good enough.

Fritz founded his own school in Christchurch in 1950 with 80 Swiss Francs lent to him by his father to advertise for students in Switzerland, although his father never expected to have his loan re-paid.

Fritz borrowed five tables and chairs and a blackboard from Holy Trinity Church Hall, which he was later able to return, in order to launch the new language school.

Anglo-Continental expanded rapidly and the school moved to its current site in Wimborne Road in 1955. It has grown to become one of the largest English language schools in the UK, having taught over 400,000 students from 120 different countries.

In July 1967, he was appointed as Bournemouth's first Honorary Vice-Consul for Switzerland, which was approved by the Foreign Office. The aim was for Fritz to protect the interests of Swiss nationals in England, with, at the time, around 4,000 people estimated to be coming to visit each year.

Fritz encouraged teachers to develop their own curriculum prior to textbooks being readily available to English language students.

Both his wife, Jane Gorman, and his son, Guido, spent many years of their lives working at the school.

Fritz died on Wednesday, January 11 and his funeral took place at Poole Crematorium on Saturday, January 21 with donations going to Forest Holme Hospice.