Petersfield pride in Daniel Day-Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis accepts the award for best actor in a leading role for "Lincoln" during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Daniel Day-Lewis accepts the award for best actor in a leading role for "Lincoln" during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
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THE former teachers of Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis have spoken of their pride at his achievement.

Day-Lewis made history by becoming the first actor to win three Academy Awards.

His latest was for his stunning portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in the biopic Lincoln.

The 55-year-old was a pupil at Bedales School, near Petersfield, and his late mother Jill Balcon lived in the nearby village of Steep.

Friends from the village have spoken of their affection for him, including the teacher who set him on the path to acting success.

John Batstone taught English at Bedales and produced plays in which Day-Lewis starred.

He said: ‘The first part he played was in a production of mine.

‘He played a rather difficult teenage boy which he did very well. You could say I got him his first step along the road.’

Mr Batstone said the actor’s role as Prince Florizel as a teenager was also delivered with ‘great feeling’ and he was not surprised by his achievement

He added: ‘I saw him in Lincoln last week and he was terrific.’

David Butcher taught Day-Lewis woodwork at the school – and it became a life-long passion.

The 82-year-old said: ‘He used to come into the workshop a great deal and he was very good.

‘He made his mother a dining table and four chairs and it was very nicely done.

‘Woodwork was a great release from his academic life .

‘He was a very nice boy and a pleasure to teach. Not over-fussed about himself at all. You would not have been aware of his background.

‘We are very, very pleased for him.’

The Day-Lewis family, including his cookery writer sister Tamasin, were well-known faces in the village.

Claire McCutcheon, whose family have owned The Harrow Inn since 1932, said: ‘We’re very proud of Dan. He’s a friend of ours who we’ve known for a very long time.

‘I remember he came in once, with very long hair.

‘A local, who had no idea who he was, started chatting to him.

‘He asked Dan what he did for a living and when he said he was an actor our customer’s advice was “you’d better cut your hair and get yourself a proper job!”

‘A few weeks later Dan won an Oscar for My Left Foot.’

Petersfield Town Council Mayor Mary Vincent is so proud of the former Petersfield resident she is going to ask that he be honoured by the council.

‘He’s a local boy come good, isn’t he?’ said Cllr Vincent.

‘We are very proud of him. I will certainly put to the town council next month that we should propose some sort of honour for him.

‘His films aren’t really my thing as they are rather heavy going but he is a truly great actor.’

Keith Budge, headmaster of Bedales School, said: ‘We would like to say congratulations to Daniel Day-Lewis from all of us at Bedales on his unique achievement in winning his third Oscar for Best Actor. When he was at school here he took part in many plays, as well as being fully involved in many other areas of school life.

‘It is great to see his formidable talents and hard work so fully recognised.’

Day-Lewis won his first Oscar for 1989’s My Left Foot and second for 2007’s There Will Be Blood.

Collecting his award, he tearfully thanked his mother and said: ‘I really don’t know how any of this happened. I do know I’ve received much more than my fair share of good fortune in my life.’

He was supported by his wife Rebecca Miller.