The OHA is sorry to announce that the following Old Haberdashers' have passed away:
John Haas (1946). Died July 2023
Roger Wakely (Staff). Died 21st June 2023
John Rolfe (Staff). Died 16th June 2023
Michael Clark (1947). Died 13th June 2023
Keith Cheyney (Staff). Died 28th May 2023
Michael "Mick" Raw (1973). Died 27th May 2023
Roger Thompson (1957). Died 22nd May 2023
Professor Rolfe Birch (1962). Died 22nd May 2023
Raymond Dady (1948). Died May 2023
Dr Aaron Graham (2003). Died 28th April 2023
Michael Lipton (1955). Died 1st April 2023
Peter Freitag (1947). Died 24th March 2023
Jonathan Kingston (1974). Died 21st March 2023
Peter Seaman (1964). Died 15th March 2023
David Mercer (1954). Died 3rd March 2023
David Lang (1952). Died 3rd March 2023
David Boxer (1964). Died February 2023
James "Bill" Felton (1956). Died 13th February 2023.
Robert Reiss (1960). Died 26th January 2023
Roy Avery (Staff). Died 17th January 2023
Jim Leighton Davis (Staff). Died January 2023
Gavin Weightman (1962). Died 22nd December 2022
Roger Henry (1960). Died 7th December 2022
John Slate (1946). Died December 2022
Alan Woolford (1951). Died 28th November 2022
Peter Peretti (1945). Died 20th November 2022
Professor Fred Last (1945). Died October 2022
David James (1947). Former OHA President. Died 28th October 2022
David Scott (Staff). Died 21st October 2022
Barry Goater (Staff). Died 29th July 2022
Kenneth Pearce (1949) Died 22nd July 2022
Geoff Hickman (1945 and Staff). Died 7th July 2022
Dick Newman (1937). Died 29th June 2022
Brett Rolfe (1969). Died 13th June 2022
John Wade (1948). Died May 2022
Vince Williams (1981). Died 7th May 2022
John Henry (1960). Died 4th May 2022
Howard Chesney (1967). Died March 2022
Michael Jack (1944). Died 30th March 2022
Ken Maddocks (1944). Died 30th March 2022
David Griffiths (Staff). Died 23rd March 2022
David Bowers (Staff). Died March 2022
Tony Pettet (1955). Died March 2022
John Hanson (1954). Died 14th February 2022.
Brian Nicholls (1945). Died 27th January 2022.
Alan Phipps (1968). OHA Past President. Died 18th January 2022
Dr Peter Barry (staff). Died 13th December 2021
Nicholas Godman (1954). Died 29th November 2021
Andrew Nicholas (1963). Died 28th November 2021
Commander Tony Higham (1967). Died 24th November 2021
Nick Twissell (1960). Died 1st November 2021
Ian Rutherford-McTurk (1975). Died 25th October 2021
Sir Thomas Harris (1963). Died 12th October 2021
David Barker (1947). Died October 2021
Professor Chris Bryant (1955). Died 15th August 2021
Neil Forsyth (Past President) (1945). Died 25th July 2021.
Michael McLoughlin (staff). Died 22nd July 2021
Henry Edwards (1941). Died 16th May 2021
Timothy Baxter (1953). Died 15th May 2021
Tony Woolf (1942). Died 15th April 2021
Roger Lyle (1955) (Former OHA Secretary). Died 10th April 2021
Jack Hurst (Staff). Died 26th March 2021
Simon Wayne (2000). Died 18th August 2020.
Roy Lidington (1945). Died 15th March 2021
Julian Leff (1955). Died February 2021
Peter Cook (1970) . Died 15th February 2021
Brian Binding (1943) Died January 2021
Bernard Dawkins (1943). Died 21st January 2021
Michael John Bovington (1951) OHA Past President. Died 17th January 2021
Abhishek Banerjee-Shukla (2007). Died 14th January 2021
Donald W Wells (1948) OHA Past President. Died 13th January 2021
We would appreciate friends and family sending us obituaries to post.
John Rolfe (Staff)
To many of the boys taught by John, he will foremostly be remembered for his indispensable role in the Habs Geography department, but I know many of you will be aware that his influence and service to the School was much more profound than this.
John arrived at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hampstead School (as it was then) in September 1959 as a teacher of Geography. At the time, there was much excitement and anticipation at Haberdashers as it had just been announced that a new site had been purchased for the School, based around Lord Aldenham’s former manor house and its 60 acre estate. Two years later, it would fall to John and a team of 5th and 6th formers (who are still referred to as `The Removal Men’ - and equally continue to meet regularly for monthly lunches in London) to assist with the decanting of the Westbere Road site to Elstree on a fleet of lorries and vans.
At the new school, a boarding house was created on the upper floors and side buildings of Aldenham House. David Thomas became the first resident housemaster for the 80 boys living there, with John being his able assistant. With his famed knowledge of London and South Hertfordshire highways and byways, he was also put in charge of the nascent coach network to transport boys to and from Elstree. Beginning with four routes from the nearest railway and tube stations he oversaw its expansion to the largest network of any school in the country. Much as Headmaster, Tom Taylor had spent endless weekends in the late 1950s exploring the outer reaches of London in search of a new site for Habs, John now enthusiastically checked the coach routes at weekends by driving around the major and minor roads of the area with his wife, Margaret, who soon found her own role at Habs as Headmaster’s Secretary. When John retired from teaching in 1995, he continued to organise the school’s coach service (which had also included Girls School students from 1974) for another year.
While a student at Southampton University, John had been a member of the University Air Squadron and he continued this interest at Habs by assisting Dick Hewson (the then Head of the Geography department) in organising the School’s CCF Training camps. In the mid-1960s, John took over from Dick as Head of department, and soon began attracting a wealth of young and able geographers to inspire and galvanise generations of Habs boys. His steadfast mentoring and encouragement of these junior colleagues led to many attaining promotions at other schools, not only to headships of department but also to senior leadership positions (with some also achieving this at Habs). It was therefore no surprise that during John’s time as Head of department, Habs was said to have `the premier school Geography department in the country’.
As Paul Hayler has said
`The Geographers all have special memories of John, largely because he gave us the opportunity to create those special memories. He never tried to restrict our individual ideas and he gave us such a lot of free rein. We were so lucky, he never asked us to work harder or improve our teaching, he just relied on us following his work ethic and we all did’.
In 1976, John recognised an opportunity to establish an exchange with a similar school in America, and with the Headmaster, Bruce McGowan’s support he organised an annual visit which went on for over 25 years to Montclair Academy (now Montclair Kimberley Academy). Hundreds of Habs students and teachers benefited from this far-sighted initiative, since imitated by many other UK schools.
John was also the driving force behind the School’s first annual Open Days, now a key event in the School calendar which annually attracts near 1000 people (with waiting lists in operation).
These are just a few of the activities, events and innovations to which John was central during his 36 years at Habs and more will be noted in a fuller tribute soon to be placed on the School’s website.
John was a truly remarkable man, kind and generous with his valuable time and devoted to the School. We will miss him very much.
Roger de H Llewellyn
Director of the Habs Foundation
(with thanks – and apologies - to Paul Hayler on whose valete article for John Rolfe in Skylark this tribute is based
Michael Clark (1947)
Michael Clark was born on 1st November 1928 in Hendon. After spending a short time in America, the family returned to London, where he grew up. From 1939 to 1947 he attended Haberdasher’ Aske’s Hampstead School, as it was then known, making several lifelong friends there. He continued his education at Sir John Cass Technical Institute in London, gaining a BSc in Maths and Physics, and an MSc in Hydrodynamics and Elasticity.
From 1952 to 1957 he worked in the Rocket Division of the de Havilland Engine Company, where he carried out design calculations for the Spectre and Sprite engines, and was an early user of computing to aid in such repetitive mathematical tasks.
He then moved to Atomic Power Constructions as head of their Radiation Physics Group. During his six years in the role, he assembled a team of 26 graduates who were again ground-breaking in their extensive use of scientific computers, this time for performing radiation shielding calculations for the design of atomic power stations.
In 1963, Michael moved to IBM as a Scientific Computing Service Representative, and performed a number of roles in after-sales support and training, before becoming a freelance management consultant.
As a boy, he was a keen chorister at the local church, St Lawrence’s, and it was as a member of the church youth group that he met his future wife, June, whom he married in 1961. They had one daughter, Fiona.
On retiring, Michael kept busy with various voluntary positions, such as church chorister and warden, chairman of school governors for a local secondary school, etc.
Michael "Mike" Raw (1973)
Sedbergh School is saddened to record the death of former teacher, Michael Raw, on 27th May. Educated at Haberdashers' School and Queens College, Cambridge, Michael was invited to join the Common Room of Sedbergh School in 1984 as Head of the History Department.
Michael was a generous colleague and a compelling teacher. His propensity for clear, erudite explanations of the subject matter combined with entertaining and often gruesome detail created an enviable level of engagement with his pupils.
Unashamed of his eccentricities Michael chuckled at the reputation he enjoyed. Pupils recall the windows of Room 13 open all year round, in sun, wind and even the odd Cumbrian snow storm. Michael was a willing judge for any school competition from house drama to academic challenge. His cutting, occasionally brutal critique of pupils’ performance could certainly not be called pithy but was always entertaining, apt and often surprisingly edifying.
After writing in his early adulthood for amongst others the Cambridge footlights and ‘Not The Nine O’clock News’ Michael had to content himself with writing and performing in Sedbergh’s own sketch show ‘A kick in the stalls’ and its various sequels. One particularly memorable scene featured Michael in Y fronts grunting as a monosyllabic caveman. Shocking for pupils and colleagues alike this hilarious performance typified Michael in that it was funny, unashamed and perfectly pitched When a spoof ‘Micky Raw Sedbergh’ twitter account emerged in 2012 readers were fairly sure that it was a parody – but with Michael anything was possible.
Michael was unashamed of his determination to do things the old way and found that his genuine charm and warmth meant others wanted to accommodate him. His reluctance to use a computer was warmly indulged by the school secretary who typed his hand written pupil reports for many years after the Common Room embraced a computerised report system.
Michael was a generous, entertaining and warm host who welcomed many colleagues and former pupils to his home. An evening at one of his successive Sedbergh residences was a richly sought after prize, particularly as it came with viewing rights to Michael’s extensive collection of historic artefacts, modern art and an enviable library. Conversation was lively as Michael brought together friends from different aspects of his life, regailing them with stories of his work on radio and television comedy, and name dropping with ease.
During a stint playing for the Harlequins Michael gained what he described as his ‘cauliflower ears’ as well as a keen sense of sportsmanship. At Sedbergh he coached the First XV from 1987-1991 and later moved to the B1 team with whom he stuck for much of his career.
Sedbergh has benefitted from Michael’s writing and attention to literary detail over many decades, first during his time as editor of the Sedberghian and latterly as Michael was appointed to chronicle various aspects of the school’s history. Prior to retiring from teaching Michael was invited to write ‘Thread of gold’, a history of Sedbergh School Football Club. He approached this with his trademark thoroughness reading every historic issue of the Sedberghian magazine, Captains’ minute book, Governors’ minute book and personal memoir available.
In recent years Michael undertook the substantial role of school historian, seeking to research and write a new history of the school in time for the 500th anniversary. Michael’s diligence and integrity made him the perfect person for this role. He sought to accurately represent the community he served while ensuring that the individuals involved were portrayed compassionately. Michael’s portrayal weaves the events of school life into the context of national and international history in a manner that elevates the book beyond the ambitions of many coffee table school histories. Michael died whilst writing the final chapter. The completist in him would have been slightly frustrated with the premature ending to his career as a writer but the comedian in him would have chuckled at the off beat timing.
Michael travelled to the Baltic states in mid May for a much anticipated holiday. Unsurprisingly he travelled with a suitcase full of history books about the region, keen as always to expand his knowledge and engage deeply with his subject matter. Michael died in his sleep on holiday.
Michael’s death is a great loss to his many friends in the Sedbergh community and further afield. He was a special man who will be sadly missed.
Thanks to Katy de la Riviere
Michael "Mike" Raw (1973)
Automatic choice in OHRFC second row when available. 47 1st XV games while at school and at University. 50 games for OHRFC in total. He always wore an old school Leather scrum cap, which were supposed to protect ones ears! Not successfully!
Played in winning School & University XV v OH !st XV 29/12/73 as a Schoolboy
3 x AXV appearances in 73/74
1st XV debut 14/9/74
13 appearances including epic Easter Tour game against Torquay Athletic which OH lost in the 85th minute as the referee kept playing until the home side scored and took the lead. I recall him in tears after the game as we returned to the Changing room.
His commitment total
74/75 16 games
77/78 15 games
78/79 3 games, including win against Akron from USA and first ever away win against Old Merchant Taylors (final game) 23/12/78
I was Calverts House Rugby captain and Mick played in my side probably age 16. We were not the sportiest house, but we beat Hendersons, brimming with talent. Mick informed me that we had 16 players on the pitch for about 20 minutes. There was a rematch the following week which we duly lost!
Have included this picture the only one I have of him at OH. Magnificent man.
Nigel Alexander August 2023
Dr Aaron Graham (2003)
Aaron joined University College London as Lecturer in Early Modern British Economic History in September 2021. After receiving his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 2012 he held several research and teaching posts, including a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford (2012-15) and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at University College London (2016-19). He also was a Knowledge Exchange Fellow at The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities at the University of Oxford (2020-1), and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2015.
Aaron worked on the economic, social and political history of Britain and the British Empire between 1660 and 1850, with a focus on finance, politics, government, corruption, regulation and slavery. His work received the Parliamentary History Essay Prize in 2017, and the Emile Lousse Essay Prize in 2018 from the International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions. He was the author of Corruption, party and government in Britain, 1702-13 (Oxford, 2015), a study of military finance, political partisanship, corruption and state formation, and Bills of Union: money, empire and ambitions in the mid-eighteenth century British Atlantic (London, 2021), an examination of paper money and imperial and colonial ambitions and monetary thought before 1775.
At the time of his death, he was writing two books, both under contract with the Oxford University Press. The first, entitled Tropical Leviathan: slavery, society and security in Jamaica, 1770-1840, examines the role of the colonial fiscal-military state in supporting and undermining the economic and social system of plantation slavery.
The second, entitled Infinite money: Britain and the European fiscal-military system, 1560-1870, examines the contribution of foreign resources of money, manpower and war materiel to the operation of the British fiscal-military state. He was also editing a new edition of A General History of the Pyrates for the Oxford World's Classics series at the Oxford University Press, to be published in 2024 for the tercentenary of its original publication in 1724. Aaron's colleagues are currently working out how to complete his projects.
His long-term research project was a study of banking regulation, imperial power, colonial politics and settler capitalism across the British Empire between 1815 and 1850.
Thanks to UCL for the Obituary
Please go to https://padlet.com/eleanorrobson/in-memory-of-dr-aaron-graham-k9vaw0ktzkfzz98c for some extremely moving tributes.
Michael Lipton (1955)
The development economist Michael Lipton, who has died aged 86, credited an important part of his education to the people of the village of Kavathe in Maharashtra state, India. His research there in 1965-66 anchored a lifetime devoted to understanding, explaining and advocating for poor rural people around the world.
Rather than being backward and conservative as some supposed, such communities acted rationally and managed resources efficiently. In his paper The Theory of the Optimising Peasant (1968), Michael explained that poor, small farmers were often reluctant to adopt new varieties of wheat and rice such as those rolled out in the green revolution of the mid-20th century, despite the average yield being higher than that of traditional varieties. This was because when the new varieties failed, because of drought or disease, they did so more spectacularly than traditional varieties, and thus increased the risk of hunger and destitution. When later generations of the green revolution crops reduced the risk, poor farmers adopted them with enthusiasm.
Michael also showed that in land-scarce situations, poor farmers managed the land more intensively and more efficiently than richer ones; and he debunked the idea that poor farmers were wasteful, showing that grain losses on farms were often minimal.
These ideas helped overturn the idea that national development could only come via industrialisation, at the expense, usually via high taxation, of rural areas. Michael’s big book, Why Poor People Stay Poor: Urban Bias and World Development (1977), set out to map in detail the ways in which urban-focused elites and policymakers discriminated against the rural poor.
In other work, Michael crossed the boundaries of disciplines to explore the linkages between agriculture, health and nutrition. In a short book for the World Health Organisation with Emanuel de Kadt, Agriculture-Health Linkages (1988), the authors demonstrated how the health and nutrition of rural people were shaped by agricultural policy: what was grown, at what price, and where. They showed how to make agricultural policymaking and institutions more responsive to the health needs of poor people, especially women, in rural areas.
Michael’s interest in development economics was sparked by Paul Streeten at Oxford, and by research for Gunnar Myrdal, author of what eventually became Asian Drama: An Inquiry Into the Poverty of Nations (1968). In 1966 he married Merle Babrow, a historian and political analyst from South Africa, and they shared a long-term interest in rural development and social change there.
The countries he advised included India and Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Sudan, Botswana and South Africa. He worked with banks, aid agencies and foundations, and in 2001 was the main author of the first Rural Poverty report for the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Characteristic of his initiatives were market-based approaches to land reform in southern Africa, seeking to overturn the historic inequity of land appropriation by colonial interests while avoiding violent conflict.
Born in London, Michael was the son of Helen and Leslie Lipton, émigrés from Hamburg. From Haberdashers’ school, then in Hampstead, he went on to Balliol College, Oxford, where he gained a first in philosophy, politics and economics (1960), and to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He was an elected fellow of All Souls, Oxford (1961-68 and 1983-84), and held professorial posts at both the Institute of Development Studies in Brighton and at the University of Sussex. He was founding director of the university’s Poverty Research Unit (1994-97), now the Centre for Poverty and Inequality Research. He also had attachments with the World Bank and the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, where he was director of the consumption and nutrition division (1987-89).
In 2003 Michael was appointed CMG; in 2006 he was elected a fellow of the British Academy; and in 2012 he won the Leontief prize, for contributions to economic theory that address contemporary realities and support just and sustainable societies.
He was devoted to his family, and to classical music, running and chess. On the last of these, he published a number of books, including the co-authored The Two-Move Chess Problem (1966), and Collected Chess Problems of Michael Lipton (2016). From 2000 to 2002 he was president of the British Chess Problem Society.
In his professional relationships Michael was rigorous and uncompromising, but he was also hospitable, generous and sympathetic.
Merle died in 2022. Michael is survived by his son, Emanuel, and his grandson, Joshua.
Thanks to The Guardian for the Obituary
Peter Freitag (1947)
Peter Freitag, one of the most colourful and most loquacious characters in North-East public life – and its most incorrigible name-dropper – has died. He was 93.
He had been a Liberal Democrat councillor and candidate for both Westminster and European elections, for many years chaired Darlington’s Hebrew Congregation and the town’s branch of the mental health charity MIND, was committed to improving inter-faith relationships, played in the Wimbledon veterans’ tennis championship until his late 70s and at 70 had been airlifted from an Alpine slope after breaking two ribs in a skiing accident.
“I’m a bit dented at the edges but the worst thing is that it’s affected my tennis” he said.
His entourage of big-name acquaintances ranged from Kevin Keegan to Henry Kissinger (“in the end we had to agree to disagree”) and from Eartha Kitt to the infamous call girl Christine Keeler (of whom more a little later.)
He’d also been an occasional tennis partner of legendary footballer Sir Stanley Matthews, had danced with Princess Margaret (”very sexy”) and knew subsequently disgraced Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe. “He thought a lot about me. He was a dreadful judge of character” said Peter.
To the honours list might be added Prince William, who in 2015 at Buckingham Palace invested Peter with the MBE awarded for services to the community.
He was born in Czechoslovakia of German parents. His grandfather died at Auschwitz. After moving to London, he met his wife-to-be Valerie and proposed six days later. “What kept you?” asked Valerie.
“She was Audrey Hepburn, you know. Perfect,” Peter once said.
In 1965 the family moved to the North-East – “I needed to get away from my mother” – buying a house in Darlington that had been owned by another member of the Jewish community.
“I offered him two cheques – one for the sum he asked and the other if he wanted to keep my friendship” Peter recalled. The second offer was accepted.
He became sales director of the Ernest and Henry button factory at St Helen Auckland – “even in New York high society I would be seen admiring ladies’ buttons rather than their bosoms” – before opening an estate agency in Darlington in 1978.
When the business opened, the average house price was £13,800, though one had sold for just £3,000.
His Jaguar 3.8 also became familiar around the town and elsewhere – “Darlington to Baldock, 200 miles in two hours and there were roundabouts in those days” – though he also became the first person in County Durham to be charged with driving without a seat belt.
“It got about half a page in the paper, just because it was me” said Peter. “I was fined £10 and gained about £2,000 worth of free publicity.”
After six years on Darlington council in the 1970s, he was re-elected, aged 78, in 2008 – The Northern Echo thought it “sensational”.
Soon afterwards he was the only councillor to oppose house building on the former Feethams football ground.
“Homes have been built on sports grounds all over the place” said Peter, a Darlington FC vice-president.
“The town is full of youngsters looking for something to do on Saturdays and Sundays.”
He and Valerie had three children - Julie, Matthew and Wendy - and two grandchildren - Abby and Josh. Matthew is an airline pilot based in the USA, Wendy has Down’s Syndrome which drove his commitment to MIND and other mental health issues.
“Wendy once asked us what was wrong with her” said Peter. “We told her nothing, she was just different.”
In 2015, when 85, he caught the 5.18am train from Darlington – “I’d been up since half past two, I didn’t want to miss it” – in the ultimately successful hope of being called to speak in a mental health debate at the LibDems’ Spring conference in Liverpool. Speakers were allowed a maximum four minutes.
“There’s still a stigma but it’s a very difficult message to get across if you haven’t lived with it” said Peter.
The Echo’s columnist merely wondered how on earth the LibDems had managed to restrict him to four minutes.
His best story, recounted after the death of former Conservative minister John Profumo in 2006, concerned his days in a house near Marble Arch which overlooked one owned by Stephen Ward and used by Keeler, Mandy Rice-Davies and friends.
“I could look out the back window of my father’s property and see the girls washing up” he recalled.
“I didn’t realise there was anything unusual about them until one day I saw Ward put a collar and lead on Keeler and walk her round Bryanston Square. Now that did seem a bit bizarre.”
The top people’s call girl remained upright, no lamps posts were involved, and she may not even have been barking.
“I couldn’t really tell if she was enjoying it, but she didn’t seem to mind” said Peter.
The Echo’s headline – “How to take a call girl for walkies” – may have been among its most memorable. Peter later tried, unsuccessfully, to buy the flat. “I was interested to see how the two-way mirrors worked” he said.
To mark his 90th birthday, he and Valerie, eight years his junior, enjoyed a six-week holiday in Japan and Hawaii – “The Japanese were wonderful, the Americans ghastly, and you can quote me”– and about the same time paid for a bench in South Park, Darlington, across the road from their long-term home.
“Thank you for this piece of heaven on our doorstep” said the plaque, though Peter initially sent it back when the engraver omitted his MBE.
Though unwell for some time, he retained several presidencies in the community and beyond – “You get to be president when you’re old” he said.
Peter’s funeral service was held in the Jewish section of the West Cemetery in Darlington. Valerie, he supposed, had already decreed the engraving on his gravestone: “It was never dull.”
Thanks to The Northern Echo for the Article
Jonathan Kingston (1974)
After leaving Haberdashers, John gained a Degree in Geology at Nottingham University.
For most of his career John worked as a geophysicist carrying out seismic surveying for the oil industry, analysing the results to help locate potential oil fields both on land and below the seabed. He travelled very widely in connection with this job. Later he worked as a technical writer for specialist oil industry publications and conferences.
He met Gill whilst studying at Nottingham and they married in 1983. They had two sons, Rob and Mike, and they were later delighted to become grandparents to Rory and Martha.
John was an enthusiastic participant and organiser for local choirs and choral events, including gospel workshops with the Dartford Township Choir. His musical loves reflected a broad spectrum of taste from Frank Zappa to gentle English folk music.
He was also a keen gardener, particularly on his much loved allotment, and a devoted Spurs supporter and recent season ticket holder at White Hart Lane.
John was an ebullient and ever cheerful friend, whose presence brightened any occasion. He is deeply missed by all of his friends from Haberdashers, who have stayed in close touch for nearly 56 years and most recently spent a very happy week’s holiday together with him and Gill at a villa in southern Spain. His sense of humour and love of life will be fondly remembered, and profoundly missed by both his family and friends.
Peter Seaman (1964)
Peter Seaman died unexpectedly on 15 March 2023 whilst at home. He is survived by his wife, two children and three grandchildren.
Peter grew up in Hendon and then Mill Hill, one of five children - four brothers and one sister. All four boys went to Haberdashers, with Peter’s years covering both the Hampstead and Elstree sites. His older brother David passed away in 2018.
On leaving school Peter trained to become a Chartered Accountant, working for various firms before taking up a post with Coopers & Lybrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was there that Peter met his wife Jakki. When it was time to return to the UK they ignored the conventional route of a flight home and instead made an adventure of it by driving overland. The trip was planned with a couple of good friends, they bought two sturdy Land Rovers and then the four of them embarked on the long trip home. They travelled for many months across Africa, skirting various trouble spots, fixing breakdowns to the vehicles and generally having the time of their lives, followed by a quick dash through Europe before arriving back in England.
Peter and Jakki married when they returned to the UK and spent their first few years in Dunstable before moving to Sandbach in Cheshire. Peter was made Partner with Wright, Stevens and Lloyd when they merged with Grundy Middleton in Manchester. The firm went through various changes and mergers to become Binder Hamlyn. Eventually, Peter branched out on his own in 1992 and set up as a very successful sole practitioner. He was still working to the day that he died.
Peter loved to travel and enjoyed many extended trips to Europe (particularly to Portugal, where his in-laws had retired to enjoy the sunshine), America, New Zealand and to Australia with two of his brothers to watch an Ashes series in 1998. In more recent years he was a frequent visitor to Thailand after his son settled there, married and had Peter’s first grandchild.
Coming from a large family Peter revelled in his own extended family and worked his whole life to ensure that they were financially secure and wanted for nothing. Peter was quiet, thoughtful and always looking out for those close to him. He was very proud of his family and they of him and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Thanks to Robin Seaman
David Mercer (1954)
I knew David at Haberdashers and subsequently played football with him for Edgware Rovers in the Southern Olympian league. He was really quite a decent and talented "no. 10" in the mould of Geoff Hurst.
"Apres" football on a Saturday evening was a strong feature of our young lives in the late 1950s/60s. David would hold court with his easy charm and mimicry of others in "The George", Kingsbury, NW9. The earlier part of his life after leaving school included working for an advertising agency in central London but from there, he changed course completely to become a black cab owner/driver, which he continued with until he retired.
After David finished playing football, because of the freedom cab drivers get as a result of choosing their own hours, he became a very good golfer, playing to a very low handicap. He only stopped playing when his health declined to the extent that he was unable to walk the 5-6 miles needed each time. He was also a very dedicated devotee of the licensed brewery trade and really enjoyed the serious discussions, usually political, held very regularly, if not daily, at his local in Bushey.
Sadly, he lost his wife, Maureen, in 2000, after many happy years together. Despite poor health in later years, he kept his wry sense of humour and continued to enjoy trips to the pub with friends. He died on 3rd March 2023 in Hammersmith Hospital and is survived by three nieces and a nephew, four great-nephews and three great-nieces.
John Jeffers (HABS 1948-1954), with Alison Pindar, David’s niece.
David Lang (1952)
David was born at home in West Hampstead to Ruth Levi and Herbert Lang, who both held Phds in Science. David was the eldest son, and together with his two brothers Charles and Jack, they all attended Haberdashers when it was in Westbere Road in Cricklewood.
Unlike his academic parents and brothers, David preferred a more practical path and following the example of a school friend, left Haberdashers at 16 years old to start an apprenticeship at nearby Handley Page Limited as a Cost and Management Accountant. All apprentices had to spend their first year on the shop floor so David was involved in building the Victor bomber prototype.
David met Charlotte, a Holocaust refugee from Austria at a social dance and they were married on 1 April 1962. Michael, who is now a civil servant, was born on 28 February 1963, and Paul a professional wedding and portrait photographer came along on 7 May 1966.
David had passion for aviation. He did his national service in the RAF, serving in Cyprus and Iraq, and worked almost all his career in the aviation sector. He retired from The Royal Aeronautical Society as Chief Accountant in 1996.
David loved his family and was especially proud of his three grandsons, and one great grandson, with another on its way.
Pic is of David at the end of an experience flying the Concorde Flight Simulator at Brooklands.
Paul Lang (David's Son)
James "Bill" Felton (1956)
Our Dad, James William Felton, known affectionately to his friends as Bill had a rich and varied life. There were so many facets to his life that trying to summarise it all for you in this short eulogy is nigh on impossible, so please forgive for anything I omit.
Dad was born 8th Feb 1940 in Edgware during the 2nd World War. I really can’t start to comprehend all the massive changes that he witnessed in his life as technology has evolved so rapidly and yet in good, old Bill style he adapted to all of it.
Dad was the eldest of two sons born to Jack and Margaret and I’m delighted his younger brother Douglas and his son Robert are here with us today. Dad went to school at Broadfields in Edgware and even at that age his long-time friend Bob Cattle described him as “effervescent and self-confident” standing at the school gate to greet all his friends every day. He then moved to Haberdashers Prep and then the main school. It was at Haberdashers that he wrote an essay about “Billy Button” and that is how he got the nickname Bill, which is how many of you dearly refer to him today, however, his brother and business colleagues still call him James.
He left school at 16 and started a training programme in the City where he studied to be a Ship Broker, passing his Institute of Chartered Stockbroker exams in 1959, aged 19. He was sent to India in 1961 and spent time developing his skills in both Calcutta and Delhi before returning to the UK at the end of 1962 when he was elected a member of the Baltic Exchange.
Dad made some great friends during his time in India and often travelled back there on both business and pleasure right up until the last few years of his life.
Dad was always diligent and hardworking and I fondly remember going into the office with him on Saturday mornings to help with the telex machines! Oh, how technology has changed!!
Dad met Mum in the summer of 1955, aged 15 when she was driven to watch him play cricket at Haberdashers with his friends John & Ken. They all hung out together over those summers at the Mill Hill swimming baths and also the Elms Tennis Club with Dad and Mum having their first date in 1957 when they went to watch a Grace Kelly film.
Always the matchmaker Dad was responsible for introducing two of his friends, John Babey and John Churchland to two of Mum's friends Janeen and Brenda. Now he must have been a good judge of character even then as both pairs got married and are still together today.
Mum and Dad married in September 1965 and after a short honeymoon in the Channel Islands set up home in Ware, where I was born two years later and then Clive 18 months after that.
They moved to Broxbourne in 1970 where I remember our house was always a party venue with Mum and Dad regularly hosting guests from around the world, as well as travelling to many exotic locations.
Mum and Dad joined the Broxbourne tennis club and were soon regular players in the league with Dad eventually becoming Club President from 1984 – 87. Clive and I spent many a weekend at the tennis club playing there with the children of many of their friends who are here today.
In 1978 we moved to a large house in Nazeing where a bar was already in situ in the lounge. This was another great entertaining house and Bill’s bar was always open. That same year our parents decided to send Clive and me to boarding school (in part because they were travelling so much). Clive went to Felstead where he soon displayed a real aptitude for all sports but in particular, hockey, where he played for the Junior England teams. Dad and Mum ever the supportive parents used to travel to virtually all his matches, as well as shuttle him to training sessions at Lilleshall.
That is when Dad’s passion for hockey started. He became an Umpire, refereeing over 500 matches and then a match delegate. In 1992 he took over as Director of the Centenary Club (basically a hockey supporters club) which he ran until it was disbanded in 1998. Alongside Kate Billson, Dad arranged for the parents of boys playing in the Junior England hockey teams to travel to the tournaments coordinating travel and hotel arrangements. Judging by the photos they always seemed to have a great time with plenty of food and wine at the centre of the events.
He was Transport Manager for the Junior World Cup in 1997, and the Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in 2000. Both roles involved him organising logistics for 12 different teams that managed to get up to all sorts of trouble. For example, the Russian manager continually smoking in his room and setting off the fire alarm, as well as having to intervene when both the Russian & Chinese hockey teams turned up on the pitch in red shirts & refused to change.
Dad was also actively involved in the East of England Hockey Association becoming President in 2007 and Chairman of England’s Hockey Youth Trust. In 2007, at the grand old age of 68, he was also awarded the Sydney Friskin Memorial Silver Goblet for outstanding service to the sport by the Hockey Writers’ Club
However, I think he was most proud of the role he played in the London 2012 Olympics when based at Loughton welcoming all the different teams and coordinating their logistics to get to their various matches on time.
Whilst Dad’s passion was hockey, Mums’ was golf and Dad was always super supportive of her as she took on the roles of lady captain at Brickendon Grange and the Herts Lady captain. He became an active social member of Brickendon Golf Club – his golf wasn’t great and I’m sure there are many of his friends here today that could testify to that. I know how much he valued his Tuesday lunchtime sessions with the boys at the club, especially after Mum died.
When not devoting his time to hockey Mum and Dad loved to travel. I still have a massive collection of over 40 dolls in different national dress that he brought back for me from every business trip.
When Clive and I were younger we both recall memorable holidays to the Seychelles, Australia and US, where we drove from LA to the Grand Canyon. I also remember some holidays to Wales where on one occasion I managed to get Dad on a horse, but only as far as the local pub!!!
When not exploring new locations – such as South Africa and the Galapagos Islands – Mum and Dad were always visiting friends whether in the UK or abroad. Just last year Dad managed to take trips to Australia, New York twice to see his brother and the West country to catch up with old friends.
In late 2012 after returning from a trip to Australia Mum was diagnosed with cancer. Dad became a constant support for her and scaled back his hockey activities. I remember being worried at how he would keep himself busy as hockey had been such a large part of his life, but as always he found new interests.
He became a social member of Hoddesdon Bowls Club along with Mum when she gave up golf and much to my amazement joined the Hoddesdon Walking Club, clocking up between 15-20 miles per week. Dad’s last walk with them was the day before his 83rd birthday where he wore the obligatory Birthday Hat.
Mum and Dad had moved to Hoddesdon in 1988 and as usual, became a vital part of the local community. Clive and I are indebted to his neighbours, particularly after Mum’s death for keeping an eye on him. They have all told me what a great neighbour he was always cheery, friendly and welcoming. Maybe there is something we can all learn from him about the importance of community & building real relationships with others.
Much in part due to his neighbour's and other friend's support, Dad proved us all wrong after Mum’s death by coping remarkably well. I know Mum battled on for so long because she was concerned about what would happen to Dad after she died, but she needn’t have worried. He continued to throw himself into life and was out at least four days a week for lunch or dinner - his diary was definitely more full than mine.
Despite his jovial outward appearance, I know Dad really missed Mum and he kept a memorial to her in his bedroom making sure he said good night to her every day. Well, Dad you are now reunited with Mum and what great timing just before Valentine's day.
Written by Julia, Bill’s daughter
Robert Reiss (1960)
The Reverend Canon Dr Robert Reiss, former Sub-Dean and Canon Treasurer of Westminster Abbey, has died aged 80.
Canon Reiss was educated at Trinity College Cambridge and Westcott House, Cambridge.
He served a curacy at St John's Wood, London from 1969 to 1973. He travelled to India and South East Asia in 1973 and worked in the Rajshahi Mission in Bangladesh, in the Diocese of Dacca for three months.
On his return he was Chaplain at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1973 to 1978.
From 1978 to 1985 he was Selection Secretary for the Advisory Council for the Churches Mission (ACCM) and was made Senior Selection Secretary in 1983. From 1986 to 1996 he was Team Rector of Grantham, Lincolnshire. From 1992 to 1996 he was also Rural Dean of Grantham, and then in 1996 became Archdeacon of Surrey and Honorary Canon of Guildford Cathedral. He was a trustee of the Churches Conservation Trust
He was appointed a Canon Treasurer of Westminster in 2005 and later became Sub-Dean.
He retired in 2013. In retirement he obtained a Lambeth degree (an academic degree conferred by the Archbishop of Canterbury) and published a book Sceptical Christianity: Exploring Credible Belief. An essay Death, Where is Your Sting? Dying and death examined was published last year.
Canon Reiss is mourned by his wife, Dixie, his daughter, the playwright Anya Reiss, an extensive array of friends, and the wider Abbey community.
Thanks to Westminster Abbey for the Obituary
Roy Avery (Staff)
Former Habs Head of History, Roy Avery, who passed away aged 97 at his home in Bristol on 17 January 2023, was not at all impressed by the school when he went for interview at Westbere Road. He had decided that the post-war grime of the North London suburbs was not for him and his young family. However, fortunately for Habs, then Headmaster Tom Taylor was able to promise him that within two years the school would have relocated to Elstree and the Aldenham estate – a far more attractive proposition.
Thus, it was that in January 1960, Roy and his wife Marjorie and their children Alison and Jonny (OH 1976) became part of the Haberdashers family. For five very happy years, Roy led the dynamic History department at Westbere Road and Elstree. He then stepped seamlessly into the role of Headmaster of Harrow County Grammar School and stayed there with huge success until 1975.
However, the city of Bristol was set in his DNA, first as a schoolboy at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital, then (after Magdalen College Oxford where he was awarded a Sheppard exhibition) as a student in his teacher training year where he met Marjorie. He was so happy to join the Bristol Grammar School family as a young teacher in the 1950s and thrilled to complete the circle, coming back from London to become Bristol Grammar School’s Headmaster in 1975 until his retirement in 1986.
At Habs, Roy not only oversaw and led by example a department of remarkable historians (among them Robert Irvine-Smith and Ian Lister) but also engaged and nurtured a younger generation of teachers. This included Keith Dawson – whose recruitment in 1963 then set in place a chain of events which would eventually lead to Keith becoming Habs’ Headmaster in 1987. This unerring skill and judgement of character continued at his later schools, where the likes of Michael Cook (Teacher of English, Head of Middle School and Housemaster of Strouts) proved to be another of his astute appointments.
At Elstree, he drew great satisfaction from encouraging young ambitious students to reach their potential, opening the door to new opportunities. A warm, generous gentleman, modest about his own remarkable achievements and so very interested in and proud of others he would often say that he was a firm believer in the dictum `Unhappy is the teacher who is not surpassed by his pupils’. It was a never-ending source of joy that many of his students chose to keep in touch with him long into his retirement.
Although he himself had a very young family, Roy threw himself completely into life at Habs, never being one to clock-watch or begrudge time spent with students outside the classroom. A keen sportsman, Roy was a regular umpire and coached School Cricket XIs. He sang in school choirs and was a pioneer in leading student trips to the USA.
With Professor Swinnerton (Tom Taylor’s father-in-law) and an enthusiastic group of students he undertook the excavation of Penne’s Place (see photo) and was himself the author of the seminal 'The Story of Aldenham House' and the highly regarded publication dealing with the infamous Elstree Murder of 1823.
The entry in Skylark, Haberdashers’ school magazine, for the Winter of 1965 informing the community of Roy’s departure to Harrow County not only summed up Roy’s contribution to the School, but also to those lucky enough to have known him. "His experience as a History teacher will be greatly missed, and many may find the absence of his quiet friendliness an even more noticeable loss."
Roger Llewellyn Feb 2023
Gavin Weightman (1962)
The documentary film-maker, journalist and author Gavin Weightman, who has died aged 77 after a long-term illness, was one of a number of talented young programme-makers who were recruited in the late 1970s and early 80s to work in the current affairs and features departments of London Weekend Television. As producer and director, Weightman’s outstanding contribution was The Making of Modern London (1983-85), a long-running series that documented the social history of the capital from 1815 to the then present day. What made it stand out was its extensive use of living memory to drive the narrative. Since then, testimony or oral history has become a common feature in documentary TV film-making.
The first series, Heart of the Empire, covered the London of Dickens, Queen Victoria and the Edwardians. In one episode, a 90-year-old Lady Charlotte Bonham Carter recalled the terrible mess horse-drawn traffic made in London’s streets, and how she suffered the indignity of wading through rain-soaked manure to attend a lunch at St James’s Palace. By contrast, Eastender Ted Harrison remembered family “holidays” spent hop-picking in Kent, leaving home at midnight to be there on time. The programmes used extensive archive film, often unearthing unseen footage, innovative rostrum camera work and specially written music to bring each individual memory to life.
Born in Gosforth, Northumberland, Gavin was the son of Doreen (nee Wade), a teacher and translator, and John Weightman, a broadcaster and later professor of French. During the war, John had been the only non-French newsreader for the BBC French Service. The bulletins he delivered sometimes carried coded messages and he often transmitted from the same studios as Charles de Gaulle. Gavin’s love of French food, wine and culture was passed on through his parents. The family lived in West Hampstead, London, but, spending summers near the Northumberland hills, Gavin also learned to love the outdoors and appreciate wildlife.
At primary school Gavin was captain of football and cricket. His secondary education began with a scholarship to Haberdashers’ boys school, Hertfordshire. By all accounts he did not thrive there and left aged 17 to begin a career as a journalist on local papers – first a stint on the Brighton and Evening Argus and then the Richmond and Twickenham Times (or the “Ricky-Twicky Times” as he fondly called it). Half a dozen reporters and editors would be crammed together in a tiny newsroom, all hammering away on 30s-era typewriters amid a dense fug of cigarette smoke. Standing out was Gavin, a tall and decidedly crumpled figure. His old friend the Canadian Broadcasting journalist Brian Stewart recalled Gavin “pouring out copy with ease, offering advice to everyone else on their writing and generally keeping everyone in stitches with gossip”.
After five years on local papers, in 1967 he began a degree course in sociology as a mature student at Bedford College, London University, where he developed a keen interest in social and economic history, especially the Industrial Revolution.
On graduation he spent time working for a newspaper group, writing for local papers. In 1974 he joined the staff of New Society magazine, writing features on a huge range of subjects. He was simply interested in everything – from Industrial Revolution housing to nudist camps in the postwar era and even the history of poaching.
The Industrial Revolutionaries, 2007, by Gavin Weightman.
While there, he happened to answer the phone to somebody from LWT current affairs calling to invite another journalist to apply for a job. Gavin took the message, then said, can I apply? He did and got the job, as reporter on The London Programme (1978-82), then, for a year, as its presenter. I was working there as a reporter at the time, and he and I became great friends. His voice was perfect for narration, but getting a man accustomed to a crumpled look to trade up to the suit and tie then required of presenters was always going to be an uphill struggle. What is more, by his own admission, Gavin never really mastered the technique of being able to walk and talk at the same time – another essential for being on screen.
After a brief spell on The Six O’ Clock Show, he gradually devoted more of his time to producing and directing films for the features department. His interest in social history made him the ideal choice to produce, direct and narrate not only the first 12 films of the Making of Modern London series (1983-84) but subsequently two wildlife series – City Safari (1986) and Brave New Wilderness (1990) – and a series on the history of the River Thames (1990), all of which had accompanying books.
When Gavin left LWT in 1991 to set up his own production company, he made more social history programmes for Channel 4, but increasingly concentrated on writing. He wrote more than 20 books ranging from Signor Marconi’s Magic Box (2003) to The Industrial Revolutionaries (2007). His most successful, The Frozen Water Trade (2003), told the history of exporting ice around the world from a frozen Massachusetts lake. It was serialised on Radio 4.
To his many friends Gavin was great company, loved for his ready wit and easy charm. Many a meal round his kitchen table ended with him playing a mean blues on his vintage Gibson guitar.
Gavin’s first marriage, to Myra Wilkins, ended in divorce. He is survived by his second wife, Clare Beaton, a children’s author & illustrator, whom he married in 2009 after a long-term partnership, their son, Tom, his children, Lucie and Ben, from his first marriage, two stepchildren, Jack and Kate, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and his sister, Jane.
Thanks to The Guardian
Alan Woolford (1951)
Born 18th March 1932 in Welling Kent, an only child to Sydney and Doris Woolford.
He lived in Welling until one day with his father on the allotment he watched the German bombers flying up the Thames in 1939 - the first daylight raids on London. Shortly after this he was evacuated to Early near Reading where he lived with Uncle Jack and Auntie May and gained 2 older “brothers” who he often talked about fondly, Maurice and Raymond.
The war didn’t seem to start so he was sent back home to Welling. When the air raid sirens were heard they used to hide under the stairs, but his father Syd, built an Anderson shelter in the garden and just a few days of it being used, the house suffered a direct hit, demolishing it including the stairs. The house collapsed onto the shelter, and they had to be dug out. Many neighbours had been killed. Very little was saved from the house but ironically one of them was a little German toy car which Dad has always kept.
Alan was conscious that without his father’s air raid shelter we wouldn’t be here today and in retrospect was sorry that he had never thanked him.
Alan was a choir boy in his local church, St John’s and enjoyed music all of his life.
He went to Haberdashers’ Aske’s school where he sang in many productions including the Gondoliers which he spoke about often. He also enjoyed the sports, particularly rugby and was captain of athletics, later running for Haringey Harriers. He also played rugby for the BBC team until he was 35. He used to blame his arthritic ankles on his competitive sports.
During a holiday with his parents went to the Norfolk Broads as a youngster, they rented a dinghy for him. The first day he climbed into the boat and went happily downwind in a strong breeze to the far end of the broad. Then he had to work out how to get back! He said it took him hours with his anxious mother waiting, but it taught him a lot about sailing and he retained a keen interest for the rest of his life.
After school he was called up to do his National Service and went into the army to become a Sergeant in the Royal Signals.
He then joined the BBC where he worked in Radio. He always looked out for the radio towers when traveling round the country saying that he had climbed up most of them. The BBC sent him to college to do a sandwich course in electronic engineering in which he achieved a first-class degree. He had moved to television and became the youngest engineering manager in the corporation.
He worked in Outside Broadcasts with its huge variety of programs outside the studios. He somehow managed to wangle being involved with the programs he enjoyed: rugby at Twickenham, Opera at Glyndebourne, and the Royal Opera House, as well as covering the Boat Shows every year. He enjoyed his work, gradually training and doing more lighting until, after retiring from the Beeb, he started his own company - Alan Woolford Lighting. He continued working as a Lighting Director until his late 70s often for ABC News who once sent him to Kuwait to see preparations for the Gulf War, and he was involved in Princess Diana’s funeral as well as in a number of European opera houses. In his working career he won an EMMY award as well as being nominated for a BAFTA. Quite the accomplishment!
When the Riverhouse Barn in Walton was being transformed from a threshing barn to a community arts centre he volunteered and designed and installed the theatre lighting and enjoyed many theatrical and musical events held there.
Alongside his career, he was also involved with sailing, coaching youth groups and developing courses for the RYA. Being an avid sailor himself he loved dinghy racing for which he has a collection of trophies, he also had a yacht which he sailed with his family on holidays around the Kent and South Coast and across to Europe. He was particularly interested that people with disabilities should be able to sail and worked with RYA Sailability to set up a group at Queen Mary Sailing Club which has now been running successfully for the past 25 years. He was awarded the RYA Award for Services to the World of Yachting in 2002 presented by Princess Anne and the Sport and Recreation Alliance Emeritus Award presented by Prince Edward in 2020 (by video in Covid times).
He was very proud to have been invited to take part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Pageant and despite the rain, enjoyed every minute, and even sailed past the Queen!
He met Val, his wife, while coaching as a volunteer at Bisham Abbey in 1966, the year when colour television started in the UK. The first outside broadcast program in colour was Wimbledon tennis where he was the engineering manager and of course the grass was greener.
Val and Alan have been married for 55 years and have two children - Tim and Hannah. Val says he wasn’t much of a cook, but he had a marvellous vegetable garden which he tended with great care, when they moved to the river, he then continued to grow them successfully in troughs and pots.
Living on the river, he bought a river cruiser and for the first time had an engine and not sails. He enjoyed being beside the river often remonstrating with speeding boats - very loudly!
During these last few years arthritis confined him to a wheelchair, Nevertheless, he had a hoist fitted in his car to take the wheelchair and drove himself or used public transport to get out and about to visit friends in London or his weekly visits to Sailability, even managing the AGM lunch only 2 weeks before he died.
He also spent a lot of time on his computer, managing to keep up with modern technology, if not for a few loud expletive frustrations. He was often checking up on the Beeb to see that standards were being maintained!!
Over lockdown he watched about 150 operas which were streamed from New York and London which kept him happily occupied.
He did not give up his life easily and was planning a fundraising venture that he would start work on when he was home again, and intended to get to Grange Opera in the summer as well as having a family party in the garden. He also spent hours researching a new electric day boat for trips to the pub.
It was a very full and worthwhile life.
Hannah Woolford (Alan's Daughter)
David Scott (Staff)
David Scott was Chaplain and Head of Religious Studies 1973-1980.
David Scott, Habs much-loved Chaplain and Head of Religious Studies, died on 21 October at the age of 75. He had been suffering from dementia for several years, and since 2019 had been living in a care home in Kendal.
As David’s successor as Habs Chaplain, David Lindsay, has said
`David will always be remembered by former pupils and colleagues with huge affection. More priest and pastor than schoolmaster, he endeared himself to just about everybody in the school - a gentle, caring, and most lovable man, who was also a fine wordsmith.’
As Chaplain, David led the school assemblies for seven years, often dealing with tricky and controversial subjects, but always with good humour and wit. Famously, at the start of one such assembly he jumped out of a large cardboard box to illustrate a point. Depending on which of the students who were present that day are relating the tale, this unexpected turn of events either amused or horrified the Headmaster and Second Master, Dai Barling.
As Head of Religious Studies, David initiated and encouraged discussions with students on a vast range of topics and his influence should not be underestimated. His five-minute crash courses for new students in learning each other’s names are legendary and his lessons could sometimes be at odds with more senior members of staff who sadly mistook for impropriety the loud sound of laughter and fun from his classroom. As a counsellor, David was always approachable to students and staff of any faith or none, with any advice he was able to give being both positive and thoughtful.
At Habs, along with Richard Brett, he was the instigator, writer and producer of the first Junior School Plays, also writing the celebrated Captain Stirrick (later filmed by the Children’s Film Unit) and after his time at the School a number of plays for the National Youth Music Theatre, - including Bendigo Boswell, which was televised in 1983. He, himself, was a very accomplished actor, appearing in a number of Habs Staff plays to great acclaim, in particular Hay Fever and A Penny for a Song.
David also became a very active member of the Friday afternoon Special Service Unit (now called School Community Service), taking groups of students to visit people with learning disabilities at Leavesden Hospital, where his gentle and attentive humour was greatly enjoyed by all.
Meanwhile, David’s poetry attracted national notice when his ‘Kirkwall Auction Mart’ won the Sunday Times/BBC poetry competition in 1978. This was to be followed by A Quiet Gathering (1984), his first collection of verse, and then by Playing for England in 1989 and, among other works, How Does It Feel? (1989), a collection of poems for children. It was no surprise that his talents made him an ideal speaker for Radio 4’s `Thought for the Day’ and was very much in demand as a preacher and speaker outside the School.
Leaving Habs in 1980, he became vicar of Torpenhow and Allhallows in Cumbria, and in 1991 moved to Winchester to become the Diocesan Warden of the School of Spirituality and Rector of St Lawrence with St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate.
He was made an Honorary Canon of Winchester Cathedral and an Honorary Fellow of the University of Winchester and continued to publish volumes of outstanding poetry. In 2008, he was awarded an Honorary Lambeth DLitt by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams - himself a fellow poet.
Roger Llewellyn November 2022
Barry Goater (Staff)
The bare facts state that Barry Goater (who has passed away shortly before his 92nd birthday) taught Biology at Haberdashers between 1954 and 1988 and was Head of department for 30 years between 1958 and 1988. However, these facts could never fully pay tribute to the influence Barry had over generations of Habs students enthused by his love of the natural world, athletics and most especially running.
Barry was born in Southampton and attended Peter Symonds School in Winchester from where he went to study for a BSc in Botany at University College, Southampton. He already had a fervent interest in the study of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) as this had been a family hobby shared with his beloved grandfather, who would allow the young Barry to accompany him collecting specimens.
Leaving Southampton in 1952, he then spent two years in the Royal Air Force completing his National Service and while there in 1954 had the accolade of being the Corps’ Half Mile running record holder and champion.
Shortly afterwards, Habs’ Headmaster Tom Taylor appointed him as a master teaching Biology, the first of his many roles at Haberdashers. Within four years he had been made Head of Department, while also taking over from Geoff Hickman as master in charge of cross country. The Goater Cup, the major inter-school cross country race, which was first held in 1963 and continues to be run to this day, remains a lasting tribute and reminder of his devotion to this sport. He spent 21 years as a Senior Officer in the School’s RAF section and set up the School’s Ornithological Society, taking boys and staff to nature reserves up and down the country in search of rare and sometimes exotic birds.
In 1988, Barry took early retirement, having spent 102 terms at Haberdashers, thereby qualifying him to be respectfully called a 'Termite', being one of the few Habs staff to have completed 100 terms at the school. (Although unable in recent years to attend the annual Termites celebratory lunch, he always requested that his very best wishes be given to his fellow members of this august fellowship.)
But this early retirement was not so that Barry might improve a golf handicap or take an academic interest in carpet slippers, but rather so that he might devote time to the study of European Lepidoptera, travelling widely in Europe between Portugal, Lapland, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria - but mostly in Spain and France. In 1989, he was made both a Freeman of the City of London and the Haberdashers Company and from 1992 was appointed a Visiting Fellow at the University of Southampton. He was the President of the British Entomological and Natural History Society and having written and co-authored hundreds of learned papers on Lepidoptera he was awarded the Butterfly Conservation Marsh Award in 2005 for services to Lepidoptera Conservation.
Former colleagues have said that the four things Barry held the most dear were 'Family, Habs, Cross Country and Moths'. There was never any doubt that 'Family' held sway, but there might be considerable disagreement as to the following pecking order. Visitors to the family home in Bushey found rooms bedecked with family cross country and athletics trophies and nets hanging with moth pupae. At times he was able to combine all three interests when leading a cross country practice run, as recalled in a recent tribute provided by the son of Vincent Williams (OH 1981) whose own death sadly predeceased Barry by a few months:
"My father, Vincent Williams, spoke of a man called Barry Goater. Barry was his running coach at secondary school, whilst on the side being an expert on butterflies and moths. He’d take the kids to the south coast for pre-season training and have them run along treacherous cliff tracks under the pretence of `improving coordination’. On one of these death-defying jaunts, my dad spotted a particularly striking butterfly. Barry, giddy with excitement at my dad’s discovery, improvised a container with a pinched pint glass in which to take it home. Barry left a lasting impression that spawned a lifetime love of running."
In the early years (1955 to 1962) of his time at the school, Barry took parties of Habs students to the Beaulieu Road Station area of the New Forest to work on biological research projects. These were then written up by the students and detailed accounts, called 'The Beaulieu Tomes' were kept by Barry which have recently been archived in the Hampshire Record Office, in Winchester. In Barry’s clear hand The Tomes record the factual details of these projects, ranging widely from all the boys present flora to bird distribution, to butterflies, moths, newts, leeches and bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts). Barry has since been hailed as the first person to bring biological field work into the national curriculum, as well being the inspiration for the careers of many a Habs student in nature conservation, ecology, and environmental concerns. One of the many students who benefited from these residential trips to Beaulieu Road was the celebrated author of `Waterlog’ and `Wildwood’, Roger Deakin (OH 1961). In 'Wildwood', Deakin wrote "A formidable lepidopterist, ornithologist and all round naturalist, Barry infected us all with his wild enthusiasm….he was the instigator of an extraordinary educational experiment."
This infectious enthusiasm also bore along many students who initially had no great interest in things scientific or the natural world. For a curious Habs student there could have been no greater pleasure than to accompany Barry on a walk around the school’s grounds as he pointed out the plants and trees unique to the vestigial remains of the old Aldenham estate (once said to have rivalled Kew Gardens for its wide variety of flora) or to sit in a bird hide with him at Fen Drayton trying to spot a Red-necked Grebe.
Fiercely competitive, Barry was a demon player on the Staff Common Room billiards table, and his noisy playing would sometimes annoy not only those in the rooms below in the Craft workshops (Geoff Hickman, Dick Benbow, John Lear and Charlie Dinsdale among them) when a hard ball landed on the parquet flooring with a thud, but also Laurence Broderick next door in the Art Printing room.
Our thoughts are with Barry’s sons and their families at this sad time. Generations of Habs staff and students have much to be grateful for, to a truly inspirational man whose enthusiasm expertly and kindly carried others along with him.
Roger Llewellyn August 2022
Kenneth Pearce (1949)
Kenneth Walter Pearce died earlier this July at his home in Cumbria, aged 89 years. He left HAHS in 1949 to attend University College London for his BSc and PhD degrees in chemical engineering, graduating in 1955.
He had a distinguished career in his science, starting with rocketry research in lieu of National Service and then working for many years at Steetley Magnesite in Hartlepool, until its closure in ca 2000. Thereafter he was at Windscale, the Cumberland nuclear plant.
He lived alone, nearby in the Lake District, in a fine old rebuilt barn, elegantly renovated by himself. He was a great traveler, cycling over almost all of western Europe with his schoolfriend John Holmes in the 1950's and later joining him in many sailing adventures in the UK and Canada, and in retirement they made very long trips together by campervan in the Australian outback and in arctic Scandinavia.
He leaves his children Jonathan, Patrick and Anna, the latter with his four grandchildren in Brisbane.
John Holmes 08/22
Geoff Hickman (1945 & Staff)
If the only legacy to Geoff Hickman, who peacefully passed away on 7 July 2022 (a month before his 95th birthday) would be the numerous small tables, magazine holders, trays and picture frames made over the space of thirty years by generations of boys in the School’s Woodwork shop, this would surely be enough to justify his position as a celebrated and fondly remembered teacher at Habs.
However, Geoff occupied a more unique role in the history of Haberdashers Boys School, as pupil, teacher and Housemaster
Geoff joined Habs in 1937 at its Westbere Road site in Cricklewood. When part of the School was demolished by a bomb in 1940, he moved with the other junior boys to the Chase Lodge playing fields in Mill Hill where the changing rooms were used as classrooms - only returning to Westbere Road one day a week when the senior boys swapped places and went by tram to the alternative school accommodation.
Before Geoff left school in 1945 to do his National Service in the Royal Navy, he played for the 1st Cricket XI and was a Calverts House platoon sergeant in the Junior Training Corps – the precursor of today’s CCF. Returning to `civilian life’ in 1946, he returned as a pupil for a further year, becoming both 1st Cricket XI captain and Captain of the School.
After two years’ training at Trinity College, Carmarthen, Geoff was invited to join the School’s staff in September 1949, with responsibility for teaching woodwork, metalwork and `small bookwork’. Outside the classroom, he devoted his time to the development of cross-country running at Habs, coaching the 2nd Cricket XI and helping to run the School’s CCF Naval section, initiating training courses in Gibraltar and Malta .
Following the move to Elstree, in 1966 he was appointed Calvert’s Housemaster, a role he held for eleven years and which greatly benefited from his quiet, kind and unassuming nature. One of Geoff’s last actions as Housemaster, before handing over to Paul Hayler, was to appoint his successor’s first House Captain, Deputy House Captain and House Recorder. Paul was told by Geoff " They aren't necessarily the ones I would have chosen for my own House officials but they are the three I think will work best with you. I think you will get on well with them and that they will fit in best with your style of leadership".
As Paul reports, this judgement was absolutely right, and the team was just what was needed to ease the transition of Housemasters.
Meanwhile, Geoff was not idle in the Woodwork shop. He constructed and transported the stage-sets required for the annual tour of the senior School play to cities in Germany; was official supervisor of the School printshop for nearly twenty years; and, as the needs of the School developed for precision craftsmanship, he made various tables (especially for the Brett Study Hall), furniture for the Staff Common Room, cabinets, memorial woodwork, library tables and the altar in the School chapel. He was a superb craftsman, even if he had managed accidentally to `plane off’ a part of one finger.
He struck up a notable friendship with fellow legendary staff member, Eric `TEC’ Carrington, and they regularly lunched together discussing the inadequacies of modern youth. They had cleverly worked out how to get quicker waitress service in the Staff Dining Room and their table was therefore where younger colleagues would also gravitate, but with the knowledge that they would be assailed with strident opinions on hair length and drainpipe trousers.
After a bout of ill health, in 1979 Geoff was offered early retirement by the then Headmaster, Bruce McGowan, which he gratefully accepted. He then relocated to Suffolk, and finally moved to Oxfordshire to be closer to his son, David (OH 1973) and daughter-in-law, Ann. Throughout the last 40 years, he maintained a great interest in the life of Habs and was frequently in touch with the School, visiting when able and taking great delight in the new equipment available in today’s equivalent to his Woodwork shop – the Design and Technology department.
Geoff’s steady influence over generations of Habs students should never be underestimated. The time and space afforded in the Woodwork shop, allowed pupils to benefit not only from Geoff’s sound advice on technical matters, but also life-skills. I also suspect that many reading this will still have the small table made in that workshop, well over forty years ago…
Roger de H Llewellyn (OH 1983)
Dick Newman (1937)
Richard Harry Newman, more familiarly called Dick, was born on 8 January 1920 and lived with his parents at 79 Wembley Park Drive, Wembley Park. His father bought a laundry in Acton (Schoolbreds) and it was assumed that Dick would follow his father into this business.
Dick’s earliest memory was of being taken in a pram by his mother to the 1924 British Empire Exhibition at Wembley. From 1927-1931, he attended The Gables Primary School in Wembley which was run by a Rev. J.H Kerridge. On 29 September 1930, his father registered him for a place at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School then situated a short walk from Cricklewood Station on Westbere Road. His first day at Habs was on 21 September 1931 (he was placed in Calverts House) and he then spent the next six years there before leaving on 31 July 1937 without many qualifications (he described himself as not a model pupil).
Dick enjoyed his time at Habs, particularly the co-curricular life of the school. He was in the School Shooting Team helping win tournaments at Chase Lodge (the School’s Sports Ground) and also enjoyed archery. To get to school involved getting the 8.31 train from Wembley to Kilburn and then, with a number of other boys, walking for just under an hour to get to Westbere Road in time for Assembly and Prayers at 9.30am. At weekends, as there was Saturday school, to get to the Chase Lodge Sports Ground at Mill Hill for Saturday sport or shooting involved getting two buses from Wembley. The school day ran from 9.30am and stopped at 4pm, after which many stayed until 6.05pm when the school officially closed (in order to get their homework out of the way for the evening).
Dick was in the first cohort of the newly formed Cadet Corps at Habs, joining in 1935. Looking back he reflected that if he had his time again, he wouldn’t have joined the Corps as they did too much drilling ad marching, and in hindsight Dick felt very uncomfortable with militarism. But not quite as much as those boys who wrote in paint in large letters on the School’s front steps `The Corps means War’ – which proved very difficult to remove. The Corps was run by a Sergeant Major from the Guards Regiment (who used choice language Dick had not heard before!) while the uniform they wore was from the Royal Signallers Corps from the Great War.
Dick’s favourite teacher at Habs was Mr Knight who taught Chemistry. He was noted to be very patient, never gave the answers to questions, but coaxed and encouraged the boys to get to the right solution on their own. He remembered Dr Henderson (who gave his name to one of the school’s houses) dying during the time he was at Habs, and camping on the South Coast with Head of the Lower School , Rev. Blunt. Getting pocket money on these trips was referred to as `visiting Blunt’s Bank’.
Dick asserted that there was never any bullying during his time at Habs, but on one occasion the school’s boxing champion decided to `take him on’ during a lunch break.. As a younger member of the school, his knocking to the floor of a larger, older and more practiced protagonist raised his profile and earned him the respect of the school community no end.
Dick left Habs on 31 July 1937, his father having agreed to pay for his ticket on a trade ship going through the Mediterranean (with the proviso that he then join the family laundry business on his return). Leaving England, on board he soon found the ship skirting Spain and the Spanish Civil War’s naval blockades and also looking after the ship’s accounts. (He couldn’t believe how little the ship’s apprentices were being paid.)
In November 1937, Dick returned to England and joined his father’s laundry business as planned. However, the lure of the sea was too much and before war broke out in September 1939, Dick had trained as a ships’ Radio Officer and joined the SS Voco as a paid employee. On his first voyage, the first port of call was Philadelphia and on the way there saw his first floating mine in the North Atlantic.
He spent one year on the SS Voco, still not officially called up, and then joined SS Glazedale where he was one of three radio operators on a vessel transporting cargoes of wheat from the US to UK.
He then joined the ‘coaster’ SS Adjutant (which had a lovely, friendly crew) initially transporting cargoes of beans. The SS Adjutant sailed to the Clyde and was loaded with naval ammunition, then went in convoy to Gibraltar. On the morning of the invasion of North Africa, Dick’s ship was sent to Algiers, then travelling on to Tripoli and Malta in convoy with a tanker and two destroyers.
The SS Adjutant then went to Palestine and Egypt, - on the way Dick witnessed the British preventing Jewish refugees in their small vessels disembark at Haifa - before being sent out to the Pacific in a big tanker and completing three or four more trips across the ocean.
At the end of the War, Dick returned to England and his father once more wanted him to take over the laundry in Acton. This, however, did not work out, so Dick began his own business.
In 1951 he married 'a wonderful girl from Ealing', Audrey Venables, whom he had met at the Badminton Club. They had four daughters Jane, Sally, Mary and Vicky in the space of six years, of whom he remained very proud. He said he had 10 grandchildren and 'too many great grandchildren to count’.
At the age of 54, and then living in Southgate, Dick’s wife spotted an advertisement for Blue Badge Guides required in and around London. This piqued Dick’s interest and having completed the required training, Dick was a Blue Badge Guide for the next 17 ½ years, being employed by travel agents to take groups of tourists around London or beyond. He was equally at home with small or large groups and when requested would take them by car (which he drove himself) or coach to the likes of Salisbury, Winchester, Oxford and Cambridge - where longstanding forged relationships with the porters allowed him and his groups special access to parts of the colleges closed to others.
Dick’s relationship with his alma mater, Haberdashers, continued to the very end of his life. He was frequently in touch with the Director of the Habs Foundation, Roger Llewellyn, by email or phone, with whom he shared the biographical details stated above. Having had the new developments around the School explained to him, he admitted to being 'very impressed' by the direction in which the School was travelling. Having suffered a fall, it was much to Dick’s regret that he was unable to drive and collect Roger from the local train station for his final visit in June 2022.
Completely attuned to modern technology, Dick not only emailed regularly from his iPad, but also played online chess with opponents around the world. When Dick sadly passed away on 29 June, on opening his iPad the chess board popped up – in the middle of a game with one of his older grandsons.
Brett "Bertie" Rolfe (1969)
I’m very pleased to say that I knew Bertie for 60 years I even used to know him when he was called Brett!! I don’t even know where the name Bertie came from??
Over the years I have shared my bed with a number of Old Habs....on various rugby , cricket and walking tours. This was inevitably the result of my lack of skill at spoof a game that Bertie loved to play but also wasn’t very good at (or maybe we were just unlucky). Surprisingly I think we only ended up in a bed a couple of times and on each occasion I can report that (unlike many other losers) he accepted this uncomfortable situation with grace and good humour and obvious fatalism just as he did with nearly everything in life including his devastating diagnosis just before Christmas.
As you know Habs in our days was a rugby school but most mornings before school and during mid morning & lunch breaks we all played football in the playground. It was highly competitive and very combative and this was enough to spawn the birth of our very own football club...Elstree Hurricanes. It was also, possibly, the start of Brett’s love of sport and especially team sport . Brett immediately claimed the left back position for himself with his robust tackling & a “you will not pass” attitude which soon earned him the nickname of Chopper Rolfe at least I think that’s why he got that name.
We were to football what Eddie the Eagle was to Ski jumping. Playing in this team provided a great introduction on how to deal defeat... heavy defeat... with and still come back for more it was a great precursor for playing for OH rugby club in the 70’s and early 80’s where victories were often hard to find.
It was even the beginning of a life long habit of leading with his nose . . .a part of the body which over the years suffered a disproportionate number of injuries. I can’t imagine why.
Brett was a scholarship boy at Habs which by definition means he was brighter than the average. That’s why I always found it strange that he ended up in the same form as me (one of the certified thickos) once the classes were streamed . On reflection it’s blindingly obvious why he just loved having fun and that tended to get in the way of school work, and homework. There was only ever going to be one winner. Any opportunity to put a smile on his face and those around him & he was up for it. A trait that was to stay with him throughout his life. I don’t really know very much about his career at work with firstly the Admiralty but mainly with Cable & Wireless who he was with for over 40 years???) but I have no doubt his manner, his approach, his man management skills, his good humour and sense of fun were always on display there too.
I can honestly say that I have never seen him lose his temper with anyone and he invariably had that wry grin on his face.
Bertie & Maggie (in comparison with the rest of us) were relatively young when they got married. Brett was always very keen on his creature comforts and I think that the thought of sharing a flat with a bunch of hairy arsed blokes, doing his own cooking and washing wasn’t on his agenda.!!
Fortunately living at home until marriage enabled him to save money and buy himself some relatively flash sports cars of the day....
Triumph spitfires & MG’s His love of stylish cars remained throughout his life. But the arrival of Ollie & Guy put a stop to this passion for a while It was a small price to pay for the pride, the enjoyment and the fun that he discovered through family life he loved spending time with the boys and really enjoyed their close company Never was this more appreciated than at the end where their
support and presence was fantastic for him.
Luckily a group of us shared a number of family holidays with the Rolfes when our children were young. These were always fantastic fun for both the younger and older members of the party the human pyramids, the Dad’s dancing, crabbing on the quayside, body painting quad bike riding, digging for lugworms and of course heavy drinking & the farting that was just the children!!! By the way, a little known fact which was revealed recently by Ian MacCarthy is that it was Bertie & Maggie who first discovered The Swan in Bushey and put it on the map among our group that in itself is a notable life achievement as will attest many of the people here today.
He was a family man at home & also an integral part of the OH Family. Much as he loved his fun he also cared deeply about others and their families when they experienced their own misfortunes & tragedies. Being part of a family and community is obviously a two way street so ..... When his own illness was diagnosed I know for sure how much it meant to him to be part of that Community and to receive all the good wishes, the videos, the jokes and in particular the Christmas video messages. Just a look at the Yo Bertie WhatsApp feed will show the fun, the laughter and the love.
We are here today to both pay our respects to a fantastic friend, a true gentlemen and to celebrate his life. I have never heard anyone have a bad word to say about him and would suggest that the number of people here today is testament to that.
He would not want a lot of glum faces, but loads of banter, reminiscing and encouragement to live for the moment DJ passed me a phrase that he found on a condolence card which says it all “Although Bertie can’t continue to travel with you, the memories of the shared fun times will always be your companions” Michael Brett Bertie Rolfe....may you rest in peace. We loved every minute of your company.
OHRC has been at the centre of his social life both as a player and as supporter and administrator. His administrative duties included being on the ground committee for many years and also being A15 captain in his early years with the club. He just quietly went about these duties in his quiet unassuming but very efficient manner even the organisation of the infamous and legendary A15 dinners which usually descended into mayhem and with a distinct possibility of arrest was accomplished with the minimum of fuss and NO arrests!! I don’t really know very much about his life at work with firstly the Admiralty but mainly with Cable & Wireless who he was with for over 40 years) but I have no doubt his manner, his approach, his man management skills, his good humour and sense of fun were always on display.
Peter MacKie (1969)
John Wade (1948)
The key to my friend John Wade’s consistent showbusiness career as a magician was his capacity to adapt to changing times. John, who has died aged 91, contrived to broadcast on radio more than 200 times, something of a record for a magician. He also “closed” the Windmill theatre, being the last act to appear on the Windmill’s London stage in 1964, and he crossed the Atlantic 22 times, entertaining on the Queen Elizabeth II. In addition he was involved in television as a consultant, and made occasional appearances on screen in the 1970s, on the David Nixon show and as a co-host alongside Paul Daniels and others in the For My Next Trick series.
His card display was central to the closing credits of the sixth series of The Avengers in 1968. He performed his famed invisible pack of cards illusion on The Good Old Days in 1979, and footage from the show can be found on YouTube.
John was born in London, at Barts hospital, and was brought up in suburban Eastcote. He was the only child of George Wade, a civil servant, and Amy (nee Smith), a housewife. John attended, with scant affection, the King’s preparatory school, Harrow, and the Haberdashers’ Aske’s school, Elstree.
His rather sober parents were not enthusiastic about John’s early interest in trickery, but, after intermittent jobs and RAF national service, during which times he pursued his delight in magic, he made his full-time debut as a conjuror. This was on the variety bill of the Tonypandy Empire for a week and with a £12 salary in June 1953.
A smiling and resourceful wizard, John was a welcome addition to summer seaside concert parties, among them the Sunshine Follies at Torquay in 1955, and, later and more famously, seasons with Sandy Powell and Billy Cotton. He also figured in panto: for example, he was Abanazar in Aladdin at the Sunderland Empire in 1976.
He was stoutly recognised by his confrères: he was made an honorary life member and Gold Star of the Inner Circle of the Magic Circle and an honorary member of the Academy of Magic Arts and Sciences, Hollywood. At the time of his death he was the longest-serving member of his beloved Savage Club, which he joined in 1962 and chaired from 1991 until 1993. In 2002 I wrote his biography, As One Stage Door Closes … The Story of John Wade; Jobbing Conjuror.
John was married in 1955 to the singer and music teacher Elizabeth Gordon, who died in 2008; and secondly, in 2009, to the singer and harpist Blanche Birdsong, who died in 2021. He is survived by David and Lucy, the children of his first marriage, and by two grandchildren.
Thanks to Eric Midwinter The Guardian, 3rd June 2022
John Henry (1960)
Born in London and the family was living near Marble Arch whilst he was at Haberdashers' in Westbere Road from 1952 to 1960. Went from school to the University of Bristol where he graduated as a pharmacist. Started working with Boots at their branch at Harrow Road and retired in 2011 as consulting pharmacist with a group of 15 privately owned pharmacies northwest of London. At that time he moved to Whitsable, Kent. Diagnosed with motor neuron disease in December 2019, he was quadriplegic by early this year.
He was in many ways a renaissance person. He loved music, particularly Jazz, at various times played the piano accordion, the trumpet, and always the piano. Did quite a lot of painting and travelled extensively. Also, after moving to Kent he took up birding. Dancing was one of his great pleasures particularly the tango. He met Yvonne at tango classes, and they even went to Argentina to gain expertise in the intricacies of the dance.
Following on his father he was an avid Freemason, and led many of their fundraising efforts in Kent. At various times was a volunteer leader in various positions in the Scout movement. Yvonne said that he lived life to the fullest.
He is survived by a brother, Roger, wife Yvonne, two sons, a daughter, and two stepchildren.
John Davis December 2022
Kenneth Maddocks (1944)
Ken was the eldest of six children and was educated at Haberdashers Aske’s Hampstead School leaving in 1944.
After graduating from Cambridge with a law degree he joined Shell in the Trademark department, from which, not suiting his interest, he engineered a move to the oil side of the business and as a result saw his swift advancement through the ranks, being posted to Columbia in 1960 and Trinidad via Venezuela in 1965, returning to the UK in 1969 on the Queen Mary, to continue for a while his career on home territory.
Ken returned to the OHRFC after Cambridge and played regularly for 1st XV from 1951 with his last top side appearance being in 56/57 season. Over the next four seasons he continued played for the A XV on 92 occasions, and captained the C XV to round off a decade when the club overall enjoyed some of its most successful rugby.
On returning to the UK he was appointed a senior executive with Shell UK Oil, being instrumental in arranging the split between BP and Shell Mex.
In 1976 Ken was offered the chairmanship of Billiton International Metals which was a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell. He was based in The Hague where under his leadership he turned the Company round from a loss into a profit.
Leaving The Hague in 1983 he was appointed Chairman of Billiton UK which, being a promotion, he was invited to join the main board of Royal Dutch Shell. In 1984 due to his years of overseas service the company offered Ken early retirement.
Thirty seven good years of retirement followed which he enjoyed to the full. Indulging in his main interests of horse racing, rugby and cricket followed closely by eating and drinking well. He entertained his many friends and family at his London flat, enjoying taking them to watch cricket at Lord’s and then on to one of his favourite restaurants. He was also a member of a small, exclusive group of veteran OH who who enjoyed meeting for lunch or dinner in pleasant surroundings in town.
As the years drew on Ken moved in with his son, David and Vivvy, who looked after him extremely well. David, although an Old Shirburnian himself, was very keen to ensure Ken maintained his OH contacts, and over many years drove Ken from Sussex to The Clubhouse in Elstree to enjoy ‘Old Lags’ lunches and other such functions to ensure friendships were maintained in those later years of a memorable life well lived with style, generosity & wit, spanning 96 years.
A celebration of Kenneth Maddock’s life was held on 22nd April 2022 at St James The Less Church, Sussex and we express our thanks to David Maddocks (Son) and Michael Milner (’48), who attended, for the their substantial contribution to the aforegoing.
Michael Jack (1944)
Written by his son, Anson:
Where do I begin? Michael had so many things going on in his life that one hardly knows where to start, what to include and how to finish.
There are several themes I will develop and revolve around Family, Friends, Sport, Work and Military service, and voluntary work and other interests
And each of the themes has many legs, not surprising when you have led a full life for over 95 years.
I will start with the family
Second son of Constance and Arnold Jack
Happy childhood on Chicken farm with cricket and (sailing boats and aircraft) model building with brother Laurie
Punctuated by fathers farm going bankrupt and moving to St Albans – Family included Aunt Ida Biggs, sister of Constance
Went to Haberdashers’ Aske’s school in Cricklewood where he captained the Cricket Team, and House (Joblings)
WW2 ruined the family with the loss of (Major) Arnold to a heart attack in October 1940 and (Lieutenant) Laurie to a German torpedo in November 1940 – went from third male and youngest son to the only male in the household at the age of 13. Not surprisingly, Constance never really recovered from these family tragedies and Michael was very reluctant to talk about these events for understandable reasons
Was engaged to another lady who broke off engagement and sadly committed suicide
Met Vivien (Bing) at the 134 Bus stop on Friern Barnet Lane while commuting into London for work.
Married Bing at St James Parish Church on 8th September 194X
Moved into 54 Church Crescent with support from Sydney 194X
Vivien born in January 1955
Anson born in October 1956
Anson followed Michael to Haberdashers and St Edmund Hall, Oxford
Anson Married Cath in 1982 and living in Northampton
Vivien Married Ian Bowles in 1984, initially living in Barnet and then Watford – where Zara (first grandchild) was born in 1986
Vivien had a career in Retail Sales, raised Zara and spent 20 odd years as the kingpin in a security company – most recently as Finance Director
Anson had a varied career in the railways 1979-2015 and more recently as a professor at the University of Birmingham (2015-2021)
Anson and Cath delivered grandchildren in 1989 (Robin), 1991 (Tom) and 1993 (Simon)
Bing (Vivien) died in 2012 Aged 83 having celebrated 60 years marriage to Michael with many friends and relations at West Lodge
His third great grandchild tragically passed just a day before her birth and eight days before Michael passed
Michael made friends with people he met in all walks of life – family, neighbours, business, sport, bridge, charity and other interests.
Love of sport started with playing cricket with his brother, and then captaining the Haberdashers School 1st Team.
As an adult he played cricket for Brondsbury and then Ashridge Cricket Clubs in North London.
He played Rugby Fives for Oxford University and many other sports for his college.
After University he played Badminton and Tennis, briefly playing at the Occasionals, before joining All Saints (Badminton) where he and Bing played for many years, introducing Vivien and Anson to the sport
Totteridge Tennis Club in 1952. He and Bing had a brief spell at Oakleigh Park LTC before rejoining Totteridge where he remained a member and senior statesman until his passing. In his time at Totteridge he was a member of the mens team, mens singles champion, mens captain, chairman, Life President and Trustee. All of his immediate family have held positions of responsibility there including Vivien who has been joint Chairman and is now a life Vice President
Golf – like all good North London tennis players, he continued playing well into his eighties, but also took up Golf – becoming a prominent member of North Middlesex Golf Club and captaining the club. He was also a prominent member of the London Captains and the Truants Golf Society – where he took Barry Green and son Anson around Woburn with him, Barry winning the visitors prize and Anson winning the number of lost balls prize
Joined up in the Navy as soon as able to before the end of the war
Trained and had brief command of a small naval vessel before the end of the war – did not see direct action but led the successful rescue of an allied crew in difficulties during a storm
Joined the Royal Naval Voluntary Reserve and participated for several years after the war
Went to Oxford as a sponsored ex military serviceman and studied English at St Edmund Hall
After the military service joined associated newspapers – initially working for the Daily Mail in all sorts of project jobs associated with the Ideal Home Exhibition
Subsequently Joined the London Evening News in the circulation department, which involved working Saturdays – the biggest sale of the week being for the classified football results
In 1964 Joined The Guardian as the national circulation manager, and in 1967 joined the Board as Circulation Director – a post he occupied until retirement on his 60th Birthday in 1987. During his time at the Guardian he managed several important changes in production and distribution of national papers, significantly increasing the circulation and taking on the Times as a serious competitor, he created Guardian Business Services, a business consultancy, created the Guardian Young Businessman of the Year Award, he project managed and delivered the 150 year celebration of The Guardian which was attended by the Chancellor of West Germany, Willy Brandt, Prime Minister Ted Heath and the Archbishop of Canterbury and many others at the Mansion House in 1971. Championed the Guardian Golf Society and Old Ben (The newspaper industry benevolent society) as well as being a prominent member of the Association of Circulation Executives (ACE)
Voluntary work and other interests
Organised many UK based coach trips for 50+ people to see far flung NT properties, and lots of tea shops
All over Europe, often by car, starting in 1968 driving the family to Yugoslavia
Investment in HPB (over 50 holidays)
Cruises around Britain, Iceland, Baltic, Danube, Transatlantic, Scandinavia
Long Haul Holidays off the back of industry conferences to California, South America, Singapore
Baxendale – Trustee for many years – negotiated with council over the development of Ever Ready House. Only his passing in March 2022 prevented him personally trying the care facilities of Baxendale during the first week of April
North Finchley Round Table
David Griffiths (Staff)
David Griffiths, the much loved and inspirational Habs former Head of History and Head of Sixth Form passed away peacefully on 23 March aged 85 in Watford General Hospital. He had suffered a serious fall last week at home in St Albans from which he never recovered.
David grew up in the suburbs of Cardiff and while showing himself to be a natural academic all-rounder at his boarding school, Malvern College, his passion for the study of History led him to win a place to study the same subject at Queens’ College, Cambridge – which he duly took up after spending his two years of National Service in the RAF.
He might have become a full-time academic but the lure of imparting his enthusiasm and joy to others for all things historical and after a year’s PGCE took him firstly to teach at Embley Park School in Hampshire, closely followed by his appointment as Head of History at Silcoates School, Wakefield while still only on his 20s.
At the invitation of the then Headmaster, Dr Tom Taylor, David joined Habs in September 1968 and very early the true width and depth of his vision and interests were recognised when he was approached to assume responsibility for 6th Form General Studies (now termed Enhancement & Enrichment) and the Special Services Unit (known now as the School Community Services). He also coached a Rugby XV and led numerous school trips to West Africa, Italy, Eastern Europe and - a much celebrated one closer to home - to Northumbria and Hadrian’s Wall in 1969.
In 1977, Bruce McGowan appointed him not only Head of History but also a Boarding House Master and it was his job ultimately in 1983, along with David Davies, to oversee its closing. He remained Head of History until 1989. In these twelve years, David is said to have been widely regarded by Oxford and Cambridge tutors as the finest Head of History in the country. Indeed, in 2000, soon after he was appointed to Habs, our current Head of History, Stephen Clark, wrote to his Oxford History tutor to thank him for his reference. The tutor wrote a note back that simply said "Haberdashers, well done! The one with the buses and the brilliant Welshman."
In 1989, David became Head of Sixth Form - a role he imbued with wisdom and great sensitivity until he retired in 1996. Many a Habs boy who passed through Sixth Form in this time has commented on David’s sympathetic ear, his thoughtfulness, sound advice as well a being a source of endless support. One Sixth Former simply summed him up in two words, saying David was a `diamond geezer’ and no-one could gainsay this estimation.
In the short time since his passing, the Habs jungle telegraph has been alive with tales of David’s endless kindness, wit, friendship, intellectual curiosity, generosity of spirit and, most of all, humanity. There have been reports of his prowess as a musician, singer and composer; rave reviews of his performances in Habs Staff plays (his Governess, Miss Prism in `The Importance of Being Earnest’ was a particular triumph) and the Griffiths’ family’s assistance in the organising and running of the annual residential holidays for children with learning disabilities (the precursor of today’s annual Habs MenCap Days) which cemented him long and affectionately in the memory of the many dozens of participants.
Many generations of Habs students and staff owe so much to him. All who were taught by David at Habs, or who were fortunate enough at some time to have been in his orbit, will have their own special memories of him, and while remembering these we should be thankful to have known a truly wonderful man – a gentle man and a gentleman.
Our thoughts are with Flora, his ever supportive and wonderful wife and their children, John and Fay, and grandchildren Zuzanna, Matthew, Helen and Oliver.
In retirement, David was a popular and much sought-after volunteer guide at St Albans Cathedral, and it is highly appropriate that his funeral should take place there. This has been confirmed as being on Friday 22 April 2022 at 10.30am in the Lady Chapel of the Cathedral. (For those who do not know the Cathedral this is accessible via the Visitor Centre and is next to St Alban’s shrine).
All are very welcome to the service and the reception directly afterwards which will be in the Abbot's Kitchen (the Cathedral Cafe).
David’s family have requested that in lieu of flowers should anyone wish to make a donation to do so, please, to the DEC Appeal for Ukraine. www.dec.org.uk.
David Bowers (Staff)
David grew up in Iver in Buckinghamshire and his happy family included two younger brothers Robin and Paul. He had early memories of being a toddler playing (no doubt quietly and sensibly) at the back of his mother’s classroom – she being a teacher of the youngest children at the local primary school.
David proceeded to Slough Grammar School where his academic prowess led to him taking Lower School Certificate (the equivalent of the GCSE today) a year under-age. Two years later he won a place to read French and Spanish at Balliol College, Oxford. He remembered his student days with great affection and was regular in attending reunions. He subsequently did his PGCE year at Oxford with a term’s teaching at Colchester Royal Grammar School where the following year Mike Anderson did his teaching practice with both student teachers remembering Dick Norton as a pupil there. All three became Mod Langs colleagues at Habs.
As a linguist David had a fine ear, a natural precision and a remarkable memory. He was also very musical. Early involvement in a church choir led to commitment to faith – a quiet but deep experience which stayed with him throughout life. He was a fine pianist and played the church organ for many years. He was a composer and had works performed in concerts by amateur orchestras. Teaching took him to grammar schools in Hitchin and Portsmouth, to the Licensed Victuallers’ School and Harrow School. At Habs there was a time when the timetable worked only because David taught all four of the main languages: French, German, Latin and Spanish. He subsequently taught at Mill Hill School – and then kept his hand in with supply positions in various schools.
In his private life he was known as a caring friend and neighbour – and he showed great dedication in patiently supporting his wife Penny through a long period of illness. He looked forward to family reunions when brother Robin would come over from the USA. He was an active and loved member of St. Michael’s Church in St. Albans for over 40 years. He reached the age of 80 years in reasonable shape but a stroke shortly afterwards led to a loss of activities and independence. He gave up driving and the piano. He said goodbye to the beautiful garden he had created with such diligence. In all this he never complained. Finally he moved to a Care Home in Thame where he was regularly visited by Paul. His last few months were very hard but he bore it all with gentle dignity.
David’s self-effacing honesty and peaceful nature may reawaken memories of gentler times. A faithful servant rather than a self-promoter, he expressed loyalty and acceptance at every stage of life
Stephen Wilson March 2022
John Hanson (1954)
As a cricket supporter and watching some of Shane Warne’s team-mates expressing their sadness at his passing, made me think of my friends, made through cricket, rugby and golf who are no longer with us. It is amazing how sport brings us together and gives us such good memories.
John, or JJ, has now joined this select group – they form a formidable team and accolades are again due.
On the rugby field John was a feisty competitor. I think it was on his return after National Service that he took over from me as scrum half for OH on 16th November 1957 – that is 65 years ago this year! I had the pleasure of playing with him as his fly half and remember the accuracy of his pass – even in those days when the old leather ball was extremely slippery. I also spent most of my career as Full Back so was able to admire his strategic ability from behind.
He practiced diligently – even on his own – using the cricket site screens as a target. He played a number of games for the county p- but for some unaccountable reason not very often with his OH partner Marshall Lumsden. In those balmy days we had representatives playing county rugby for Hertfordshire, Middlesex, Surrey and Notts Lincs and Derby.
John was Club Captain in 1966 and 1967 and, as it was my 300th game for the Good Friday game at Cross Keys in Wales in 1966, John gave me the pleasure of being captain for the day. This game did not go well as two members of our front row – our hooker Roger Leverton asked his prop, Dick Owen (on his first appearance in the 1st XV) to exert some pressure on the opposition front row. Dick took the law into his own hands, a rare fight – unlikely to be won by ex-public schoolboy against 3 strong Welshmen took place. Roger received a black eye. Dick was sent off and we were down to 13 men – (no replacements in those days) with the inevitable result of a 26-3 drubbing. Thanks John!
In total John played 283 games for the 1st XV – and I think all at scrum half.
There are many other experiences that we shared, such as Easter tours with young families in attendance; the Celebration Dinner at the School in 1998 and I was looking at a picture showing Liz and John at my wedding to Christine in 1960 (62 years ago!) with both John and me sporting full heads of hair – those were the days!
It is lovely to see Liz and the family here today, and though a very sad time for them I hope the association of this place from the days of Liz’s father (after whom the pavilion extension is quite rightly named) remains strong in the family for years to come.
One day last year John was here and we spent a happy hour watching the game together and chatting about our many experiences in the Blue White and Magenta – but as our memories became cloudier – as they say, what goes on tour, stays on tour!
Now I would like you to charge your glasses and remember a fine stalwart of the Club – to John!
Peter Shiells’ Toast at Past Player’s Lunch in Memory of John – March 2022
Alan Phipps (1968)
OHA Past President
Alan Phipps was born on 17 October 1949 in Edmonton, North London to parents Bert and Joan and was the eldest of three children with a brother, Neil, and a sister, Susan. The family later moved to Stanmore where Alan attended Stanburn primary and junior school. From an early age he was talented at maths and was top of his class. He was a bright boy and he later won a scholarship to Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys School at Elstree where he showed his sporting acumen and played cricket and some rugby.
Sport has always featured large in Alan’s life. From an early age he played cricket with his father and brother on Sundays at Hampton Court and subsequently he played for Cheshunt and then for Old Haberdashers.
Going back to his childhood, Alan, being five and a half years older than his brother, Neil, had him bowling at him in the back garden for hours on end until Neil managed to get him out and Susan, being seven years younger than Alan, was used as the ball girl when tennis was being played and had to go to all the neighbours to retrieve any stray balls.
Neil described his brother as calm, considerate, loving, always free with good advice and he felt he was fortunate to have Alan as a brother. He thought all big brothers were good at cricket but he came to realise that Alan really was very good, especially when it took so long to bowl him out.
As for sister Susan she paid this tribute to her brother. Alan was always greatly supportive of me throughout my life. He always encouraged me, even if I was not very good. I could always rely on Alan and Jane for their heartfelt support and advice for which I am truly grateful.
In the past few years it has been difficult for Alan as his Parkinson’s got worse but he always had a twinkle in his eye when he did something unpredictable.
Alan and Jane, his wife, celebrated her last birthday at Pizza Express. The service was not very fast and Alan told the waiter in a lovely way with a bright smile that it really shouldn’t be called Pizza Express. It was the old Alan which was wonderful to see. It is a memory that will remain with us forever.
Jane has been amazing at looking after Alan. Her dedication was boundless and we are so grateful to you Jane for making the last few years of his life as enjoyable as possible. Alan was taken from us far too soon. He was such a lovely, kind, understanding, beautiful brother and a friend as well as a husband but he is now at peace.
But going back to Alan the man himself, when he left Haberdasher’s he went to Sussex University where he studied biochemistry. Interestingly this had nothing to do with his subsequent life.
His sport would take centre stage ahead of his studies but nevertheless he did gain his degree and he took the decision to go into a career of accountancy. He became articled initially to the well known firm of chartered accountants Coopers & Lybrand and qualified in 1974. He would remain with the firm until 1979 when he subsequently joined IBM.
During his time at Coopers Alan worked in the audit department and he specialised in banking and financial services. He lectured on the banking course, which was run by Jane’s boss. Alan’s subject was loan evaluation. He must have made the topic very interesting because he always had top marks when the speakers were evaluated by the students attending the course. That said, he had one small weakness: he was always the last one to hand in his slides and course notes so had to be chased by Jane, which is how they met. Each year the firm had a dinner and dance at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane around Christmas time and Alan asked Jane for a dance. They subsequently arranged a first date on New Year’s Eve and Jane arranged to stay with a work colleague so that she was in London that evening. She was rather surprised when Alan picked her up with his friend, Dave Collins and even more surprised when later in the evening when the clock struck midnight, the first kiss went to Dave! Well that obviously didn’t deter them – romance will have its way – and Alan and Jane went on to marry on 12 May 1979 at Watford Register Office with their reception at St Michael’s Manor in St Albans. Having honeymooned in Malta, they settled down to a long and happy marriage of forty two years living in Radlett and they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in 2019.
Jane described Alan as not only the man who had made her a better person but importantly as her best friend and her sole mate. Together they enjoyed a wonderfully full and varied life with so many shared interests, holidays, watching sport together, yoga and socialising with many of you here today.
Alan and Jane enjoyed holidays all over the world. India, South Africa, Zimbabwe and France were just a few of the places they visited. Alan loved to video when they were on holiday and was always found lagging behind filming. It was whilst on the Old Hab’s cricket tour of Zimbabwe that they were not only pursued by an elephant but participated in white water rafting down the Zambezi. Alan laughed when they were asked to sign a waiver that if they were injured or killed, the company running the activity were not to be held responsible but it was exciting and really very dangerous. Alan drew the line at bungee jumping.
Alan played table tennis to a high standard and ran the Radlett Table Tennis Club for several years.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2006. He was a proud man and really did not want anybody to know he was ill. He just wanted to soldier on. He never complained and he led a positive life, in no small part due to the love and support of Jane and of course the rest of his family and friends. He would gradually have to give up his sport but towards the end of last year he and Jane were still managing to have little table tennis knocks across the living room which they enjoyed.
Going back over the years Alan was very much involved in the community in general. He was a governor of Manor Lodge School for several years eventually becoming the Chairman of Governors and he really did love his association with the school. The Headmistress paid this tribute to him. “Alan played such a large part in shaping Manor Lodge and helping it to become the school it is today. I shall always be grateful for his dedication and obvious devotion to the staff and to the children.”
As well as his significant contribution to the OHCC in his younger years, he was also heavily involved with the Old Haberdashers’ Association, being it’s President in 2001-2, a member of the Executive Committee and responsible for the ground at Croxdale Road before handing over to David Heasman.
But there were so many facets to this gentleman’s personality. He was a very kind man who never had a bad word to say about anyone. He always talked a lot, was very witty, amusing and very well liked. He has been described in the many cards of condolence that have been received by Jane as a lovely man, a dear and special friend, a kind and gentle man with a great sense of humour, intelligent and so much fun to be around, an all round good character, quite simply a man of many talents.
Alan was lost to us on 18 January 2022 at The Peace Hospice at the age of 72 and will be sadly missed.
Andrew Nicholas (1963)
Few of the newbies to Westbere Road in 1956 were blessed with a Greek Cypriot waiter for a father, a half-Italian seamstress for a mother, and lived in a one-bedroom flat on Great Portland Street. Andrew benefited from the now-defunct Direct Grant system: the London County Council paid the fees of six scholarship boys each year for the duration of their schooling. Every class register suffixed your name with an L, so that all should know that you were a scholarship boy, but Andrew wore this mark of Cain lightly. He was a popular boy; respected for his catholic curiosity and his prodigious memory, liked for his sociability and his infectious giggle. Being a sports-lover also helped; when the lunchtime football crowd played on the school field, Darwinian selection ruled. Andrew ranked alongside the likes of Tony Everitt and Dave Kearton, and would be picked early, whereas your correspondent would be picked last-but-one; only saved from complete humiliation by Simon Schama, now known to the world as a popular historian, but remembered by a few as a truly terrible goalie.
Andrew was also one of that small group of trainspotting fanatics, who hung round on windy platforms hoping to record a new locomotive. The love of trains never left him; his last outing a few weeks before his death was to York and the National Railway Museum. The last photo is of him and his wife in front of BR Standard Class 9F 2-10-0, number 92220 Evening Star, the last steam locomotive built by British Railways. Eat your heart out, Rog. Putnam!
When the time came to enlist in the CCF, Andrew was one of the very few not to join. Ironic, given his lifelong interest in military history, but Andrew’s father had heard stories of the British Army in Cyprus and would not countenance the idea. So, Andrew joined the SSU. While others paraded up and down in their khaki, the Special Service Unit did gardening.
Another lifelong interest was kindled when a motley crew of Habs boys signed up for dance lessons at Camden School for Girls. The attraction was not the dancing. At that time Andrew’s stated ambition was to meet a Swedish nymphomaniac whose father owned a pub. A trifle unrealistic, but the ambition fuelled many doomed years of searching.
When Haberdashers moved to Elstree in Summer 1961, Andrew was one of the student volunteers who laboured to help it happen. The so-called ‘removal men’ have reunions still, though a diminishing band; most recently losing ‘Beet’ Alexander.
Leaving school with A Levels, Andrew went to work in the Civil Service. But his interest had been pricked by a random encounter with a book on sociology, and this proved the key to focussing his disparate talents. After a year at work, he returned to education at (the then) Enfield College of Technology, taking an External London University degree in Sociology; did extremely well, and went on to gain a B. Phil. at York University, then a Masters at Manchester. He began his academic working career at Hatfield Polytechnic as a Lecturer in Sociology, and went on to spend most of his working life there. Hatfield Poly transitioned into the University of Hertfordshire, and Andrew eventually retired as Director of Studies and Chair of the Board of Examiners, Social Science.
In retirement Andrew continued his lifelong passion for military history, and in spite of indifferent health, was still giving occasional presentations to the Letchworth military history society until his death.
Andrew suffered from poor health throughout his retirement. He had serious heart problems, advancing Parkinson’s Disease, and leukaemia. Typical of Andrew, he used to joke that he couldn’t wait to see which condition got him first! Ironically, he was felled by Covid-19.
Andrew is survived by his widow, the lovely Judith, whom he married over twenty years ago and who belatedly brought him the happiness and contentment that he craved and deserved. Thank you, Judith.
Chris Frew L, Habs 1956-63
Commander Tony Higham (1967)
Tony Higham had a lifelong affiliation with water. If he wasn’t sailing the seas with the navy or taking part in an ocean race, he was leading the campaign for flood defences in the Hampshire village of Hambledon.
Even being at the centre of a lifeboat operation in August 1970 did not deter him. On that occasion he was skipper of a crew of six naval cadets on the Temeraire, a 36ft Bermudian rigged sloop, which was reported missing. Penlee lifeboat was launched, other shipping stood by to assist and two helicopters began a search. The Temeraire was eventually sighted 30 miles south of the Lizard light, but Higham managed to rerig the yacht, which sailed into Falmouth under its own steam. “When rounding the Scillies we began to encounter the most vicious storm I have ever been in,” he told The Times. “Off the Lizard the seas were reaching the top of the mast, about 35ft, certainly enough to overpower a small yacht.”
There were less choppy waters when he was sharing duties with Prince Charles, his fellow sub-lieutenant on HMS Norfolk in the early 1970s. For security reasons he once stood in as a body double for the prince and was driven down Main Street, Gibraltar, in the ship’s open-top Land Rover while his royal colleague slipped quietly on board via a back route.
Higham competed in many of the world’s great ocean races, including the first Whitbread round-the-world race in 1973-74, when he steered a Nicholson 55 yacht for 5,000 miles through the Southern Ocean with no rudder. He represented Britain in six Admiral’s Cups, which he won in 1977, came fifth overall in the 1980 Sydney-Hobart race and was involved in several Fastnet races. He was captain of the Royal Naval sailing team for seven years, skippering an 80ft Maxi yacht known as Broomstick in the 1994 Britannia Cup at Cowes.
In 2013 he received a bravery award from the Royal Humane Society after helping to pull three people from a blazing car on a country lane near Winchester. “We could hear the burning and I could feel my right buttock getting a bit hot,” he recalled. “But we were focused on getting this chap out.”
Anthony Higham was born in Hendon, north London, in 1948 to Maurice Higham, who on D-Day drove one of the landing craft that delivered troops on to the beach in northern France, and his wife Winifred (née Child); he had a brother, Mike, a retired headmaster. By the age of 11 Tony had recovered from tuberculosis, survived being knocked down by a car, fused the entire street’s electricity supply by sticking his finger in a plug socket and escaped with packing chemicals into a mustard tin as a homemade rocket
He won a scholarship to Haberdashers’ School in Cricklewood and then Elstree, where he was a member of the combined cadet force. From school he joined Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, where he acquired the nickname “Yachts”. It was the start of a 37-year career in which he served in six Royal Naval vessels
In 1973 he took part in the Cape Town-Rio race. To get there he secured a first-class passage on a cruise ship, the Edinburgh Castle. On the voyage he met Lindy Andrews, who was on her way to become a medical secretary with Christiaan Barnard, the heart-transplant pioneer. They were married in 1975 and she survives him with their children: Duncan, a former Royal Marines officer who now runs an American medical company; Nick, a partner at McKinsey; Alex, a property developer; and Charlotte, a solicitor. He was not always practical around them or his 12 grandchildren and once inadvertently made a cup of tea for the builder using expressed breast milk from the fridge.
Higham’s naval career featured a fair share of diplomatic work; at Nato he was involved in integrating the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland into the alliance. He helped with planning the Queen’s golden jubilee celebrations in 2002 and his final appointment concerned the commemorations in HMS Victory in 2005 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
Untroubled by self-doubt, Higham wrote letters on a range of subjects to national newspapers. In Hambledon, the birthplace of cricket, he led a campaign that led to a £3.9 million investment in the local flood defences, keeping villagers updated by firing off email bulletins. “We have a large number of hungry workers and volunteers round the clock,” read one. “Ladies of Hambledon (and gentlemen), I have sampled your delicious cakes and sandwiches. Any chance of some more please?”
Over the past decade he worked with the organisers of Strictly Come Dancing, his favourite television programme, to provide tickets for the show to 30 veterans around the time of Remembrance Sunday. On other occasions he organised concerts in Hambledon village church that together raised more than £165,000 for Royal Marines charities.
Higham was never happier than when on his yacht Windsong with a glass of champagne. He was a regular participant at Cowes Week, eventually becoming flight director for the air display. In 2018 he arranged for the Red Arrows to fly over the Solent during a rare parade of Cunard’s “three queens”, the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. Immediately after the flypast a titled lady leant across to him and said: “My good man, would you mind terribly asking them to fly round again so I could get some more photos?” It was perhaps the only time he was unable to get something done.
Commander Tony Higham, BEM, yachtsman, was born on October 12, 1948. He died from a brain tumour on November 24, 2021, aged 73.
With thanks to The Times 21st December 2021
Ian Rutherford-McTurk (1975)
Ian Rutherford McTurk, 64 years old, of Valdosta, Ga passed away suddenly at South Georgia Medical Center on Monday October, 25, 2021.
Ian was born in Belize on March 14, 1957 to the late John Rutherford McTurk and Ann Marie (Bosch) McTurk. Ian lived a charmed life, traveling the world as a child as his father opened international Hilton Hotels all over the globe. At age 11 he followed in his father’s footsteps by entering the prestigious Haberdasher’s Aske’s Boy’s School of London. He moved to Valdosta his senior year and graduated from Valwood. He went on to receive a business degree from Valdosta State College.
In the early 90’s, Ian began the career that he is most noted for with St. Jude Medical. He soon became known as “The Pacemaker Guy”. Ian assisted cardiologists all over the southeast with their patients who required pacemaker insertion and care. He continued the relationships gained during that period up until his death. More recently Ian ‘s business endeavors shifted toward toxicology. He was currently the CEO of Clarity Clinical Toxicology.
From a young age Ian had a love for the outdoors. He grew up competing in swimming, scuba diving, playing cricket and rugby; but his true loves were hunting and saltwater fishing. He spent countless days towing many friends and family around the waters of Long Pond, making generational memories for many.
Ian was a kind and caring person with a quirky sense of humor. He could show a ruff exterior at times, but he was always ready to help anyone in his or her time of need. Ian has been a mentor and wonderful friend to many.
Ian is survived by his wife, Anita Sinnott McTurk, of Valdosta. Sister: Sharon McTurk (Tom Przybojewski) of Ft. Lauderdale.
Sir Thomas Harris (1963)
Thomas Harris was enjoying a quiet retirement when he found himself back in the public eye in 2019, having been inadvertently caught up in the dispute about the Duke of York’s alleged sexual encounter with 17-year-old Virginia Roberts at Jeffrey Epstein’s New York home in April 2001.
In his interview with Newsnight Prince Andrew claimed that on the night in question he was staying at Harris’s official residence as consul-general. Harris responded in a newspaper interview that he had “no recollection” of the prince staying and that, given there was no mention of the stay in the Court Circular, “it doesn’t sound like he stayed with me”.
It was not the first time that Harris had been thrown into the epicentre of events. The duke’s purported visit was in the same year as the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US and Harris’s role meant that he was a key figure in the British response. Most immediately he kept the British government informed about what was actually happening on that bewildering and traumatic day as hijacked jets crashed into the two towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Later he hosted top-level visitors from London to New York in the aftermath of the attack, including members of the royal family, one of whom was the Duke of York, and the prime minister, Tony Blair.
Meanwhile, his office and home also became the focal point for a great humanitarian challenge, co-ordinating the search for British victims of the attacks, and assisting and consoling their families as they desperately sought information. He and his staff helped to organise memorial services while protecting individuals from intrusive media attention. He was knighted in 2002 in recognition of his role in the crisis.
Harris was always proud of his ability to mix easily with people of all backgrounds, something he attributed partly to his own upbringing in a world distant from that of many in the diplomatic elite. Thomas George Harris was born into a working-class household in north London in 1945, the son of Kenneth, a skilled tool-maker, and Doris (née Phillips), whose parents had been immigrants to Britain from southern Italy. They had lived after their marriage in a small rented flat above a shop.
He showed early academic ability and with the aid of local authority scholarships and inspirational teachers at Haberdashers’ Aske’s school he won a place to study history at Cambridge aged 16. Rather than going straight to university he took an extended gap year to travel abroad for the first time, working as a construction worker in West Germany and then hitchhiking with a friend around the Middle East, north Africa and the Mediterranean.
During his university studies he won a travel scholarship to embark on another journey which, he believed, was the turning point in his life. In 1963 he took the Trans-Siberian railway en route to Japan to study a collection of English labour history documents held at a Tokyo university. On his first evening there he met Mei-Ling Hwang, daughter of a Taiwanese pearl dealer, who was studying in the US and spoke four languages. After maintaining a long-distance relationship they married in 1967 in London and had an unconventional honeymoon, accompanied by Harris’s new mother-in-law because of a problem with return flights to Japan.
They were married for 54 years, with Mei-Ling building a successful floristry business based in London while supporting her husband in his diplomatic life. They had three sons, Ian, Simon, and Paul, all of whom had careers in finance.
Harris had come top in the 1966 civil service entrance exam and began his Whitehall career as a high flyer working for the Board of Trade. He was private secretary to ministers including Michael Heseltine and John Nott. His international interests and linguistic ability secured him postings to the British embassy in Japan to promote UK exports and as a commercial and trade specialist in Washington, after which he moved permanently to the Diplomatic Service. Initially he worked in Nigeria and on a range of crises in Somalia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone as head of the Foreign Office’s Equatorial Africa Department.
In 1992 he was appointed British ambassador to the Republic of Korea in Seoul. It was an auspicious time, with the country in the midst of what he called “unrelenting economic growth and prosperity” as it embraced global trade and finally emerged from the long shadow of the Korean war. Memories of his first travels in east Asia as a student back in the 1960s had given Harris a strong sense of how dramatic this change had been. Years of double-digit economic growth, he recalled later, had “replaced the refugee squatter camps I recall from my first visits to Seoul”.
As well as fostering much closer trading relationships between South Korea and Britain, Harris also helped to encourage cultural links, including a quadrupling in the number of Korean students studying in the UK. John Major visited the country as prime minister during Harris’s final year there.
Although trade and commercial relations may have been most prominent in his work, Harris was also closely involved in monitoring the nuclear threat posed by the paranoid communist dictatorship in North Korea. Much later, in 2010, he visited there when working as a banker and was deeply shocked by “a country which combines a nuclear technology capability with an economic system which cannot feed its people”. He saw great poverty, with the masses unable to afford basic transport, buildings unheated and in darkness owing to lack of power, and intense repression by the authorities. Although he normally relished any kind of travel, visiting 166 countries, in this case he left “with no wish ever to return”.
After his time as ambassador in Seoul, Harris had a brief spell back in Whitehall as director-general of the UK’s trade and investment organisation. However, he found managing change in such a large Whitehall entity less appealing than diplomatic work abroad so was pleased to take up his post as UK’s director-general for trade and investment and consul-general in New York in 1999.
In 2004, after retiring from the Diplomatic Service, he became vice-chairman of Standard Chartered Bank, using his Asian contacts and expertise in particular, with frequent visits back to South Korea. He was also a trustee of the Imperial War Museum.
His awkward moment regarding Prince Andrew apart, Harris enjoyed his retirement from public life by lecturing on history to local groups in north London, supporting his beloved Tottenham Hotspur, and spending time with his sons and grandchildren. He always encouraged in them a love of travel, whether to far-flung places or simply a new part of London, searching for the kind of new experiences and encounters which had so transformed his own life in the 1960s.
Sir Thomas Harris, diplomat, was born on February 6, 1945. He died of undisclosed causes on October 12, 2021, aged 76.
Reproduced from The Times with thanks.
David Barker (1947)
Our Dad was born in Stanmore in 1930 to Frederick and Violet and was the middle of three sons, Dennis being the eldest and Ken the youngest. The family home was a traditional and happy one – with Frederick busy running his own insurance company whilst Violet looked after the family, doting on her three boys. Perhaps it was Violet’s motherly love which got Dad so accustomed to being looked after – he couldn’t believe all the jobs we used to make him do so often at home!
Attending Haberdashers’ Boys School from the age of 11, Dad quickly immersed himself in sport - becoming an accomplished cricketer, batting for both his school and later, Hatch End Cricket Club. Much of Dad’s education was disrupted by the outbreak of the war and he recalled having to dive down onto the ground during cricket matches after seeing bombers overhead. Arguably though, the more disruptive influence was his friendship with his best school mate, Tony Bell - the two of them known for getting up to all sorts of mischief in class. A friendship they’d enjoy for over 75 years.
It was only aged 17 when Dad finished his schooling that he discovered his love and talent for tennis. Wandering across to Elms tennis club – his local club - inspired by what he saw, he decided it was a game to pursue. Totally self-taught, he thoroughly enjoyed playing every day that summer. Dad was disappointed when his father told him he had secured a job for him starting at 9am on Monday morning at the Guardian Royal Exchange - a large British insurance business. Little did he know this would signal the start of a blossoming career and tennis would soon become an integral part of his life, going on to play at both club and county level.
Dad’s career had only just begun when it was halted at the age of 18 to undertake his mandatory National Service. Joining the RAF, he was assigned the responsibility of guiding young training pilots into land. He never quite knew how he managed it as it was pretty much a case of learning on the job, but Dad’s methodical and calm approach probably equipped him well. Although he’s never stopped reminding us about the cold showers and horrible meals he had to put up with!
Dad was delighted once he was finally back in his more natural environment in the City and he soon discovered that he was suited to a career in insurance. Working hard and rising through the ranks, his first big move came at the age of 35 – taking on a role at insurance firm, FE Wright. Dad has always dubiously claimed that it was his gruelling National Service that prepared him well for the world of work, but we all think that his progression was more down to his unrivalled ability to charm clients over long, boozy, City lunches!
However, there wasn’t a hint of arrogance in Dad – he was far more aware of other peoples’ talents, than his own. But he thrived in the company of others, and they loved working with him. With an innate ability to gently influence, he quietly led by example and brought out the best in people. He was eventually appointed Chief Executive at FE Wright and only left the company after 25 years to take on the Chief Executive role at Holman Insurance where he was tasked with turning the company around and leading them into the Lloyds’ insurance market within 18 months. He ended up being persuaded to stay for 7 successful years, finally retiring at the age of 67. Remarkably, he even managed to go his whole career without having to learn how to use a computer or send an email as his secretary loved doing everything for him!
Family life was always busy for Dad. Having had his first son, Andy, at the age of 30, he then embarked on new family life twenty years later, having Lucy and I after meeting our mum in 1977 and their marriage three years later. Their mutual love and unwavering dedication and loyalty to each other, coupled with their complementary strengths, made them the perfect team. The incredible times they’ve shared, and their achievements together is testament to that. As a family, we kept Dad young - but probably kept him poorer than he would have liked too!
In the second half of his life, Dad could invariably be found at Cumberland Tennis Club - where he immersed himself in club affairs and spent countless hours on court – and thanks to many of you – even more time at the bar! It’s no surprise it’s where he cultivated some of his closest friendships, this was where he felt most at home, and these were some of the happiest years of his life. I’ll never forget the many years spent up there as a family – me playing with Dad and desperately trying to copy his rock-solid volleys and trademark backhand slice. He inspired me to play the game. An overriding memory is Dad roaring with laughter at the bar surrounded by his friends.
Tennis took Dad all over the world, to the US as part of Lloyds of London tennis team, county week at Eastbourne and he even won a tennis tournament in Vale do Lobo at the age of 50 – and he was only there for a week’s family holiday! In 2015, he and mum went to watch the Semi-finals of the Australian Open in Melbourne, finally completing his lifelong ambition to attend all 4 tennis majors.
Dad turned his attentions to golf in his retirement and became a member of Hampstead Golf Club. Taking the game up late and insisting he didn’t need many lessons, this game proved not to be as easy. It didn’t start well, because at the end of the first hole of his playing-in round at Hampstead, he realised he had left his putter at home. But of course, even with a putter down, Dad managed to charm his way in. Hampstead soon represented a huge new part of his life to enjoy every week with his friends. Unsurprisingly I always saw him produce his best golf going up the last, in full view of the clubhouse. And we know he enjoyed being able to order any cakes of his choice afterwards - food options that weren’t routinely offered at home!
Some of my fondest memories are playing golf with Dad and the attempts alongside mum and I to take on some of the finest courses in Europe. Dad always hacked his way round and he lost more balls than I can remember. On one early holiday in the Algarve, leaving mum to look after me at 6 months old, Dad nipped off with Luce to grab some lunch and came back with a Quinta do Lago timeshare! What an investment that turned out to be, enjoying magical times with the family pretty much every year since – relaxing on the terrace in the sunshine and visiting his favourite restaurants – always enjoying a bottle or red and his favourite sardine pate!
I will deeply miss our Dad. His smile, his infectious laugh, and the funny stories he recounted – his huge presence. He was an amazing Dad, who had a huge influence on me in every area of my life, including my passion for sport and choosing a career of my own in the city.
He showed that – coupled with hard work - life is to be lived and the best way is alongside family and friends, to have a good laugh, doing what you love, often with a bloody good bottle of wine! To always appreciate the small moments of joy. Quite frankly, I have huge admiration for the times that Dad lived through and all that he achieved. And with the way our Dad conducted himself throughout his life, he deserved every bit of it.
Dad’s life was certainly a life fulfilled. He very much leaves a legacy shown by his friends and family in this room. I think we can all agree that the elegance, balance, and touch of class that Dad showed on a tennis court was mirrored throughout his life.
Eulogy given by James Barker (David's son)
Professor Chris Bryant (1955)
Professor Chris Bryant, a member of the ANU for almost 60 years, was born in 1936 at Hampstead, North London. He attended schools at Buckingham College, Harrow, and Haberdashers' Aske's, Hampstead and in 1955 gained a County Award to Kings College London where he graduated BSc with honours in zoology in 1958.
After completing an MSc at University College London, he moved to King's College Hospital to work for his PhD on the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs on subcellular metabolism in animal tissues, supervised by Mervyn Smith.
While working for his PhD, Chris married Anne Roberts, an Australian nurse and upon graduation he applied for academic positions in Australia. Chris had several offers from which he chose to accept a lectureship in zoology at ANU.
The zoology department at ANU had been established in 1959 under the headship of the noted parasitologist, Desmond Smyth, and Chris was quickly impressed with the quality of both staff and students.
Desmond, Warwick Nicholas, John Clegg, Mike Howell, and Chris soon established the ANU as a highly regarded centre for parasitological research in Australia.
With generous funding from the Commonwealth government, Chris established a research laboratory studying the adaptive biochemistry of parasitic cestodes, trematodes and nematodes.
Thanks to Canberra Times for the Obituary
Neil Forsyth (1945)
OHA Past President
This Eulogy given by Neil Forsyth’s three children
Wednesday 18th August 2021 at St John The Baptist Church, Chipping Baret
Dad’s first piece of advice for anyone who was standing up to speak was keep it short and include some long words like ‘marmalade’. So, we have tried to follow his advice as we share some of our favourite memories of him today. The only requests he gave for his funeral were that we should sing ‘Lead us Heavenly Father lead us’ and not talk about him. Sorry, Daddy, but we will sing your hymn.
As this hymn suggests, at Dad’s core was his belief in the Lord, it underpinned everything that he did and all he stood for. We were aware of his quiet, deep faith when we were young but it became more evident as he got older and, just a few weeks before he died, he assured three of his grandsons that “better things are to come”.
We’ve found comfort in all the stories that you’ve shared with us as they highlight his integrity, humour and friendship as well as the mischievous twinkle in his eye. His affection for family and friends was usually marked with a nick name such as the one given to his great friend David James (‘47) who suddenly became ‘Pendergast’ on a skiing holiday when Daddy was introducing him to a group of girls.
In the 50’s & early 60’s Neil was busy working hard at John I Jacobs the Shipbrokers, playing rugby for the Old Haberdashers, helping at Crusaders, a Christian organisation for boys and sharing a flat with his good friend, Prendergast. At work he met our lovely mother, Elizabeth. They tried to keep the romance quiet, but Dad’s colleague & friend, Bill Williams, realised something was a-foot when Daddy started slinking off early to take Elizabeth out. They married in 1964 and together created a loving, happy home for us all. They were a marvelous team. We feel so blessed and so grateful to have had such wonderfully loving, giving and good-humoured parents.
In the mid 80’s Dad retired and Dad was over the moon to become a grandfather. The grandchildren were especially precious, after the sadness of losing his dear wife and our mother, Elizabeth, when she was only 51.
In the last few years, things slowed down and visitors to Buckers will have met Faith who provided wonderful care for Dad. It didn’t take long for him to nickname Faith ‘Nanny’ and we are so grateful that, with her expert support, he was able to stay in his own home until the end. Faith has been a real blessing.
Although work, sport, his garden and Old Haberdashers were important to Dad, his family, friends and (his) faith were closest to his heart. He made us laugh, he was unflappable, a constant, steady and loving presence in our lives and of course he was our hero.
Dad was born in Hendon, in 1927, a brother for Wolly. The family moved to Liverpool during the war so that Grandfather Joseph , a marine engineer, could assist with the vital Atlantic convoys.
Dad was quick to slot into scouse life and I loved hearing his stories from that time. One of my favourites was how he & some friends distracted a member of the home guard whilst other scallywags helped themselves to ammunition from a spitfire which had crashed on the banks of the Mersey. Dad then worked out how to get the rounds to fire without a gun. He tied a piece of string to the bullet end of the shell and threw them in the air allowing the shell case to land hard on the ground each time and go off. This occupied them for hours. Not one to try at home!
He had further tales of mischief during the war.
On returning to London Dad attended Haberdasher’s. During his Latin School Certificate paper there were a total of 7 air raids. This enabled him to liaise with the Classics scholar in a dark corner of the air raid shelter which proved very fruitful and I think he got a credit in this exam!
On leaving school he trained in the Fleet Air Arm on the Swordfish torpedo bomber. Dad found that he suffered the most appalling motion sickness in a small plane, fortunately, this training course was cut short allowing him to transfer to the Navy where he trained as a Radar expert. Dad completed his training at the end of the war, and I think he was rather frustrated at not being able to do his bit for the effort.
After demob he declined a place at Oxford – presumably because he could not rely on the Classics scholar to assist with tricky exams! Instead he started working as a junior shipbroker at Jacobs in the city. He remained there for some 40 years and had worked his way up to main board by the time he retired. Dad and I had a mutual client in the shipping world who was sent to Jacobs to learn broking under Dad’s wing. He now owns one of the world’s largest shipping fleets. I will quote his words about Dad.
‘(Neil’s ) calmness and quiet steeliness impressed me, particularly when combined with his perfect manners, kindness and generosity. It was a perfect example of how determined business can be conducted very effectively with charm and principles’. I think this sums him up beautifully.
As Helen has mentioned, the Old Haberdashers was very important to Dad and he relished supporting them from playing rugby to becoming Old Haberdashers Association President (‘88/’89). When I played for the Old Haileyburians against the Old Habs, Dad would come and watch and when I asked Him where his loyalty lay, he tactfully responded with the line – Well, with the OHs, obviously!
It is impossible to distill the essence of the most significant parts of someone’s life into a brief tribute – especially 94 well packed years. I hope we can all enjoy sharing further stories in Church House after the service.
For me, I will always remember my Dad being the kindest, most supportive and caring father.
Editor: P John Egan (‘56), Paul Eisenegger (‘58), J Bill Felton (‘56), C Rodney B Jakeman (‘61)attended.
Thank you too to the Family for allowing us to print the above extracts from their combined Eulogy.
Henry Edwards (1941)
Henry was born on 9th July 1925 at 25 Queen’s Court, Wembley, as the first of two children to Tommy and Betty Edwards. Mary followed a little later, and sadly passed herself earlier this year. Tommy and Betty originally hailed from Carmarthen to settle in Wembley once Tommy de-mobbed to join the Post Office having served in the Royal Signals in Belgium and France during WW1.
Henry attended the Haberdashers' School in West Hampstead, leaving in 1942 as a prefect, as captain of Hendersons house and as secretary of the chess club. And where he was an enthusiastic, but not very successful, rugby union and fives player. Henry became articled as a chartered accountant – which was interrupted from 1945 – 1948 when commissioned as a second lieutenant to serve in the Royal Signals. He saw no active service, though on being stationed in Armagh, Northern Ireland, his only comment was “it was incredibly cold!” On qualifying in 1949 Henry’s working life was spent mainly in two companies:
Firstly, it was the Rank Organisation PLC, where he became Finance Director of the Consumer electronics Division
Secondly with Babcock International PLC, as Group Financial Controller, at the London head office, retiring in 1988.
The irony was that Henry didn’t enjoy being an accountant. Yes, he worked hard, and was successful, an absolute top accountant, though in fact, his personal feeling was that big business was quite immoral, in fact! The only reason he ever worked in the profession was his very dominant father’s drive; Tommy knew what was right! and pressured Henry into the role. Given his own choice, Henry would have chosen being a sportsman. Henry’s own being compulsive meant he encouraged Pete’s involvement in sport (who personally felt: not a natural) result: Henry’s drive actually put Pete off. Every waking hour of weekends came with Henry being in a foul mood unless he was playing golf (that was, unless Pete managed to out-drive him on the fairways!) or tennis.
Home for Henry was Queen’s Court before his first marriage, then it was Preston Road, near to Wembley Stadium where John and Peter joined the family in 1953 and 1954 respectively. In 1960, it was then Northwood, before Moor Park in 1966. Henry chose to keep the Moor Park house when the marriage was dissolved in 1984. Henry’s interest in and passion for history, historic places, buildings, monuments, architecture, across the world, reared up to protect a house next door to him in Moor Park. The son of one his neighbours purchased a property to redevelop – demolish and replace for a quick profit – much to the neighbours’ horror, Henry mounted a defence of the property and rallied his neighbours to halt the works. Those due to profit were not happy, they only looked at the money; as Peter says: when money talks, truth is seldom spoken. Henry’s in-built integrity could not, and would not accept such. In his mind, even if destitute himself, and one of the world’s richest men dropped a £2 coin without noticing, Henry would ensure he was given it back, regardless of his own needs. That was his level of integrity.
It was 1987 when Henry met Marit Sargint from Norway. The story goes: Marit was accepted to study architecture in Lyons, and with three months spare, she decided to improve her English working as an au pair in Cambridge for friends. However, it was through her Naval uncle’s girlfriend – who lived in Albert Hall Mansions – that she was invited to a party where she met Dicky, her first husband of 20 years. As a widow, with a friend in Northwood, Marit was invited to a singles party, the same one Henry was drummed into attending (he thought the idea silly). Henry called Marit afterwards, and despite her Roman Catholic reservations due to his divorce, they hit it off, she met John and Peter, all went well, and they wed a year later in 1988.
Henry had a keen interest in travel with many holidays in and around Europe including France, Germany, and the former Soviet Union. With Marit, they would travel several times a year until the last few years; Henry liked obscure destinations and choices. When travel became too much, he would add guidebooks, and travel brochures to see the places, to wish he was there. His travel book collection included most countries of the world.
In retirement, Henry managed to build up extensive library built around his interests (in reality, he was a bit of a polymath in his interests). Topic themes include reference books about animals from insects to elephants and he became, like John, a fellow of The Zoological Society of London, choosing to visit as many major animal parks as possible. Architecture and historical houses were another huge part of the library, as were stories from his younger years – Biggles, Just William, and Reginald Crompton (grown up schoolboy books). And an exemplary music collection of classical CDs – Handel, Mozart, and Bach, in particular.
Henry remained a compulsive, but not very successful, games player throughout his life, he managed to play golf, tennis and squash into his seventies. And his rugby union passion continued with watching any England international match – absolutely, and compulsively – so much so, that nothing would stop him; it was five and six nations, and of course, the world cup. He also enjoyed a daily game of chess with his computer chess set. With Marit, came another irony in Henry’s life (he was never keen on cold or snow) yet she was a skier from early life, and so holidays home to see family in and around Oslo and Bergen, came with skiing.
Henry was very particular in his views, choices, and his tastes – when it came to food, whilst not particularly fussy he was an Anglophile in what he ate (which meant, no rice, pasta or foreign foods). It was English breakfast everyday with an ideal meal of roast beef with Yorkshire pudding; redcurrant jelly with every meal; apple tart with evaporated milk, custard, or cream. If it was fish, smoked salmon.
Henry was a pedantic hater of smoking – he could never understand how everyone in the army smoked, for he thought it a disgusting habit. And he frowned on drinking alcohol, never approving of Marit’s evening drink, though this never stopped her.
Alongside Henry’s book and music libraries was his enjoyed vast DVD collection of crime and detective dramas that ranged through and included both TV series and film: Agatha Christie characters, especially Poirot; The Saint; Hawaii Five-O; Vandervalk; The Avengers, and Sherlock Holmes.
Timothy Baxter (1953)
Timothy Baxter’s childhood was a life in music with musical parents. He began with the piano and the cello whilst in school. His formative years were very much centered around the church, first as a choirboy and later as an organist, and so naturally his compositional work started early. The motet, O Most Merciful, was written when he was fifteen years old and heralded a promising career as a composer.
He began his musical studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London specialising in both piano and composition. His initial composition teacher, the South African Priaulx Rainier, was a pivotal and encouraging figure, who had the young student enter the Academy’s yearly composition competition, which he won. This early success led to Baxter directing his attention primarily to composition, and so further competition success followed. In his younger days he won a number of prizes.
Amongst his later teachers in composition were Anthony Milner and Alan Bush, and his attendance at the Dartington Summer School of Music led to contact with a diverse and influential range of composition teachers such as Stefan Wolpe, the Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski, and the American composers Elliott Carter and Aaron Copland.
He also studied conducting with Peter Gellhorn (BBC and Glyndebourne). He had a B.Mus. degree from the University of London.
Baxter was also a freelance performer for a number of years, for example with the London Philharmonic Choir, Ballet Rambert, the London Ballet Company, and the Martha Graham Dancers. He has also been vice music director at The Old Vic Theatre and cantor and organist at St. Philip the Apostle, Finchley. As a freelance pianist he worked together with the cellist Jaqueline du Pré.
He was Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London from 1965-1990 and Fellow of The Royal Academy of Music (FRAM). In addition, he was an international examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music from 1966-2005.
Since 1990, he has lived in Denmark and was a member of the Danish Composers’ Association and of Komvest (Vesterbro Komponistforening) since 2009 and chairman for a number of years.
Baxter has continued to write works for the church, including choral pieces, cantatas, organ works and liturgical arrangements. Furthermore, he has written much chamber music, ballet music, orchestral music and educational pieces.
His musical ‘The Birth of Jesus’ has been produced three times at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and has also been recorded. 3 CDs have been published.
His music can be heard in concerts in Denmark and abroad. His educational music is in much use all over the world.
Tony Woolf (1942)
Tony Woolf, who died aged 95, was born in London. He was an unexceptional pupil at Haberdashers Aske’s School, who, when informed that Tony wanted to study medicine, advised his parents not to waste his time and their money. He nevertheless commenced his medical studies at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, London, in 1944, qualifying in 1948. In 1949 he was granted a National Service Commission as a Flying Officer and was appointed Command Gynaecologist for the Far East Branch of the Royal Air Force based in Singapore. By the time of his discharge from active service in 1950 he had been promoted to Acting Squadron Leader.
On his return to the UK, Tony worked as Resident Medical Officer at St Mary’s, followed by the same post at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital. In 1952 he married a fellow doctor, Hélène (Paddy) Goodman, DM, FRCS, whom he had met on the steps of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) and with whom he had two daughters. Paddy pre-deceased him in 2010.
In 1954 Tony became Senior House Officer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Hackney Hospital and two years later gained Membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRCOG) subsequently becoming a Fellow in 1969. He returned to St Mary’s as Casualty Officer in 1957. After gaining his RCS Fellowship in 1959, Tony was appointed to a series of posts, starting as Registrar at Fulham Hospital, then Senior Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University College Hospital (UCH), before his appointment in 1964 as Consultant at Hackney Hospital, where he remained throughout his practising life.
He taught Obstetrics at UCH and served as an examiner for both the RCS and the MRCOG. Other appointments were as an Honorary Lecturer at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, and Honorary Obstetrics and Gynaecology Consultant at St Andrew’s Hospital, Dollis Hill. Tony was also an active member of the Royal Society of Medicine, attending meetings up until his final years.
Before making the decision to retire at 72, Tony had a very busy private practice in Harley Street and though his patients included royalty, aristocracy, and many well-known names, the same dedication, duty of care and commitment was accorded to all his patients, private or NHS, no matter how well-known or undistinguished they were.
As a student doctor, Tony played rugby for St Mary’s and for the RAF in Singapore. He was a great cricket enthusiast, and he was proud of his membership of the MCC, which he held for over 50 years. While he was in practice he regularly played in a tennis “four” on weekends when his permanent “on-call” status allowed, and when he retired he took up golf, playing regularly into his nineties. He was extremely sociable and enjoyed good company, good food, and very good wines. Those who knew him well were also privileged to enjoy his dry and, at times, wicked sense of humour.
Tony was held in the highest esteem not simply by his patients by also by his colleagues and the junior doctors and students he taught. When, in his nineties, his health started to decline, many of his own consultants were doctors he had trained.
Above all, Tony was a “Man of Honour” setting himself high standards in his work and in the way he lived, and he challengingly expected the same of others. He served his fellow “men” generously and we shall greatly miss him, but never fail to remember him.
Jack Hurst (Staff)
We are sorry to inform the Habs Community that Mr WJ (known to all as Jack) Hurst, former Habs’ Head of Languages from 1968-1991, peacefully passed away on 26 March aged 91.
Jack was appointed as a teacher of languages in 1961 when the School moved to Elstree. It quickly became evident to the Headmaster, Tom Taylor, and senior colleagues that a truly exceptional teacher and polymath had joined Haberdashers.
He became Head of Spanish in 1964, Head of French in 1966 and Head of Languages in 1968 – a post he held with great distinction until his retirement in 1991.
Jack was a first-rate teacher whose passion for his subject was boundless and generations of pupils benefited from his infectious and compelling enthusiasm for languages. Former colleagues also remember him as a true friend, and a lovely, generous man with a real zest for life.
Simon Wayne (2000)
A nine-year-old North-West London boy has raised close to £30,000 and counting for a charity that has helped him cope with the sudden loss of his father.
Alexander Wayne wanted to thank Grief Encounter, which has supported his family since his dad Simon died, aged 38, after suffering a heart attack during a Portuguese holiday last August.
Inspired by the efforts of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore — who raised almost £33 million for NHS charities by walking laps across his garden — Alexander will undertake a 5k run next month in his father’s memory.
“We used to love running together,” he said. “We ran three times a week during the first lockdown.
“I would like to raise money for Grief Encounter because they have been supporting me, my sister [Olivia] and my mum.” Although he had thought that that he “wouldn’t be too sad” after a few months, “I now realise that it’s not that easy. Therefore, I want to raise money so they can continue to support children like me.”
In an emotional interview with the JC, Mr Wayne’s widow Natalie said her son’s charitable efforts showed that “through utter devastation and sadness, there can be inspiration. Alexander is only nine and he set up something with a purpose. People can take a leaf out of his book.”
Prior to her husband’s death, the family had been spending more time together than ever before because of Covid restrictions. Mr Wayne, a senior lawyer, and Natalie, the head of product at a technology company, would balance work with home-schooling. Like many in lockdown, they also acquired a puppy.
“We had gorgeous summer months together with barbecues and having dinner as a family, which we never used to do.”
In August, they decided to travel to Portugal for a two-week holiday with friends, booking a villa. They enjoyed meals, sport and watched the sunset on the beach. Mr Wayne booked a surprise boat trip in Faro, in the Algarve, and dinner to celebrate his wife’s 39th birthday.
Two days later, he sat down to breakfast after a 10k run saying he felt light-headed and nauseous. The family assumed it was dehydration but called emergency services as a precaution.
Coronavirus protocols precluded Mrs Wayne from accompanying her husband in the ambulance so she followed by taxi. “I never saw him alive again.
“I got to the hospital and was waiting in the reception for a few hours. After three hours, I became worried. I didn’t understand what was taking so long. I thought they would put him on a hydration drip and send him home.
“But then the doctor told me Simon had a severe heart attack and the next 24 hours were critical.
“It didn’t make sense in the context of Simon,” she added. “He was 38-years-old, a fit guy. He had no pre-existing conditions. He would play football and squash.”
Her husband was transferred to a hospital in Lisbon and his parents, in-laws and Mrs Wayne’s sister arrived. But he suffered another heart attack and died on August 18.
On the advice of the Grief Encounter, Mrs Wayne used “simple language” to tell the children what had happened.
“It was the most heart-breaking conversation I have ever had,” she said. “I could not let that be the lasting memory of the holiday. On the last night, we went to the beach and toasted Simon.”
Since returning to London, she and her children have moved in with her parents, the extra support helping them to cope during the pandemic.
In December, family and close friends released 39 balloons from Hampstead Heath to mark what would have been Mr Wayne’s birthday.
The couple met as teenagers on a Reform Synagogue Youth Israel tour. “We were together for 23 years. We were married in 2009 over the Amalfi coast. Life is not the same.”
She praised the support of Grief Encounter at such a difficult time. “We have all had counselling online over Zoom. The charity has been amazing, a safe space for us to talk.
“My kids are my ‘why’. I can play and talk to them. I am a mum first and foremost. I make sure what they need is taken care of. In the evenings, I reflect. Simon was the most incredible person — I cannot lose sight of that.”
Launching the campaign last week, she expected to raise around £1,000 and was shocked when donations exceeded £20,000 in two days. “The response has been unbelievable,” she said. “I thought just my friends and the families of Alexander’s friends would support it. Now so many people are sharing and talking about it, even people we don’t know.”
Reproduced from The Jewish Chronicle 11th March 2021
Roy Lidington ('45)
Roy was born on St, George’s Day, 23rd April 1928 at Finchley in N.W. London.
Soon after his birth, his parents, Norman and Grace, bought a 3 bedroom, semi-detached house in Edgwarebury Gardens and it was there that he and his brother, John, lived for the early part of their lives.
Roy attended Edgware Infants and Junior Schools and, in 1939, he won a scholarship and free place to the Haberdashers’ Aske’s School which at that time was situated at Hampstead. Towards the end of 1939, soon after the outbreak of the Second World war, both he and John were evacuated to Beaumaris in Anglesey to avoid the London blitz - they were away from home for just over a year, living with their widowed grandmother, at first in a mansion named Brynhyfred, where an uncle and aunt ran a strange religious community and, later, in a house of a former mayor of Beaumaris, Mr Roberts, whose lovely terrace house overlooked the Menai Straits with distant views of the Snowden mountain range and the Great Orme at Llandudno. Roy attended Beaumaris Secondary School for one term and then transferred to Friars Grammar School in Bangor which involved a journey of 6 miles, often by bike, alongside the Menai Straits and over the Menai Bridge.
Early in 1941, Roy and John returned to live in Edgware for the remainder of the war, sleeping in a Morrison shelter in the living room and, in the mornings, often picking-up shrapnel from anti-aircraft shells and, occasionally, listening with apprehension to the frightening sound of German ‘doodle-bugs’ and rockets which sometimes exploded within a mile or two of the house but , fortunately, never really close by.
Roy continued his education at Haberdashers’ and, in 1943, was successful in the
Matriculation and School Certificate examinations and then, two years later, he passed the Higher Schools exam with Honours. His parents could not afford to send him to university and there were very few scholarships available at that time so, having been rejected for National Service, due to asthma and a suspect spine, he had to seek some form of useful employment. He had always had a fascination and interest in maps and building plans and, quite fortuitously, in 1945, his mother spotted an advertisement in ‘The Times’ by a firm of surveyors, auctioneers and estate agents who were seeking a school leaver to serve articles for a period of 3 years and to study for the professional examinations.
So it was that, on the 20th September 1945, Roy arrived at the offices of Messrs Britton, Poole and Brown on Wellington Road, St Johns Wood - right opposite Lord’s Cricket Ground - to begin his apprenticeship. On that very same day, an attractive, slim, dark-haired girl of 15, by the name of Rosa Thorn, also started work in that office as a switchboard operator and filing clerk. It was far from love at first sight! Roy did not even ask her out for a date for nearly 12 months and it was not until Rosa left the St Johns Wood office to work at Hoare’s Bank, in Fleet Street, that the relationship really blossomed. Roy eventually proposed to Rosa in St James’ Park one glorious sunny evening, after a theatre outing, and they were married at St James Church, Edgware in March 1953.
Married life began in a top floor flat of a Victorian house in Christchurch Road, Streatham Hill but Roy was still having to spend a great deal of time studying for the professional examinations of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the
Chartered Auctioneers and Estate Agents Institute and, in the 1960’s, the Chartered Land Agents Society, eventually becoming a Fellow of all three professional organisations.
Roy and Rosa’s first son, David, was born in 1956 and, two years later, just before
their second son, Peter, was due to be born, they bought a house in Northwood on the NW outskirts of London. Then, in 1961, their third son, Tony, was born.
Having finished his apprenticeship in 1948, Roy began working as a junior surveyor in the County Valuer’s Department of the Middlesex County Council - he was to remain in local government service for the rest of his working life. Over the years, he progressed up the ranks in the Department and, by the time that the Middlesex County Council was abolished in 1965, he was the County’s Deputy Estates Manager. On transferring to the newly created GLC in 1966, he became Principal Land Agent and , by the end of his professional career, in 1983, he enjoyed the grand title of Assistant Director of Recreation and the Arts with a supporting staff of over 500 officers.
Roy’s experience and expertise were exceptional and far-reaching in terms of property management. His responsibilities extended from managing over 20,000 acres of Green Belt land around London (including 49 farms, 105 smallholdings, 14 golf courses, several mansions, extensive woodlands, lakes and sand and gravel pits); to the daily operation of all the landing piers on the River Thames from Tower Bridge to Richmond; to the South Bank Arts Complex and countless public open spaces in London. He loved his work, especially that involving agricultural estate management. He often related his most satisfying and rewarding achievements as being responsible for the first farm open days on land in public ownership and the establishment of a Farm Interpretation Centre at Park Lodge Farm, Harefield which included a rotary milking parlour, with viewing gallery and a herd of 150 Friesian cows, where schoolchildren from deprived inner city areas of London, such as Poplar, Tower Hamlets and Whitechapel, were brought to see for themselves, often for the first time in their lives, real farm animals, farm machinery and the countryside.
The Centre continues to this day. Roy retired from public service in 1983 and his retirement party was attended by over 60 farmers and smallholders.
Roy was always interested and involved in sport. Encouraged by his father, he concentrated on cricket and, for 3 years, was in the Haberdashers’ School 1st Xl as an opening batsman and occasional off-spinner. Soon after leaving school, he became an active member of OHCC and played regularly for over 25 years and, mostly in the 1st Xl. He made 179 appearances for the 1st team, scoring 1760 runs, taking 58 wickets and 41 catches, mainly in the slips. He became an active member of the cricket committee, was Fixture Secretary for a number of years and went on to become President between 1975 and 1977. He was particularly proud to be President in 1977 when Peter was captain of the School 1st Xl - a ‘double-act’ that had not been achieved before then nor since. He took up golf in 1966 as a member of Pinner Hill and, later, he joined Enfield and, for a short period, Lyme Regis Golf Clubs. He was also President of the GLC Golfing Society for 2 years.
After retirement, Roy and Rosa moved to Dorset, in 1986, and settled in Rectory Cottage in the village of Symondsbury. In 1993, having been forced to give up playing golf due to back problems, Roy decided to try his hand at bowls and, very quickly, he became a keen member of both the indoor and outdoor bowling clubs in Bridport. The highlight of his bowls career was in the millennium year, 2000 - he was men’s captain and the club were winners of the Ist Division County League title as well as winners of the South Dorset President’s Cup. In addition, he was one of the team which won the County Fours Competition, thereby qualifying to play in the National Championships at Worthing. Of special significance too, in that same year, was the fact that, at the age of 72, he won his first club competition, the Junior Cup, having been a losing finalist on 18 occasions in various competitions during the previous 7 years! After 2 years as men’s captain, he became Bridport Bowling Club President in 2002 and he felt greatly honoured when elected a Life Member in 2014.
He also represented the Dorset Men’s County bowls team on 46 occasions, the last time being in 2017 when he was 89 years old - which might be some sort of record in itself! Finally, in his later bowling years, he became a highly respected umpire in the West Dorset area.
Roy and Rosa were married for 66 years, celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in 2013 and Roy never ceased to be grateful for the love, help and support Rosa always gave him. He was especially indebted to Rosa for her part in bearing and raising 3 sons of whom they were immensely proud. On several occasions, Roy recounted that some of the most memorable events in his life were associated with his sons - listening to the maiden speech of his oldest son, David from the public gallery of the House of Commons; watching his second son, Peter, scoring fifties and centuries for the Haberdashers’ School 1st Xl and for OHCC; and being in the audience on the first night of theatrical performances by his youngest son, Tony, particularly the premiere of his one-man production of ‘Grimaldi’ at Richmond in Yorkshire.
Roy was a dedicated Christian. In his early years, he accompanied his parents to the City Temple Church and to Westminster Chapel in London. In Symondsbury, he regularly attended services in the church of St John the Baptist; for a short time, he served on the PCC and ,for 10 years, he undertook all the maintenance of the churchyard - a task he thoroughly enjoyed in addition to the endless care he gave to his own cottage garden which was always much admired.
Roy enjoyed life to the full, made many friends and will be remembered as a person of quiet determination and good humour; a man who hoped that by his example, he could demonstrate the practical and spiritual benefits of a Christian faith; a man immensely proud of his loving wife, Rosa, and his family - he was a wonderful father and grandfather. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
(adapted from the eulogy given at Roy’s funeral on 8th April 2021 - largely written by Roy himself)
Julian Leff ('55)
My friend Julian Leff, who has died aged 82, was a psychiatrist who broke new ground in the treatment of schizophrenia, including through an approach that involved intensive group and individual work with families instead of just the patient alone. He also invented avatar therapy, in which patients create computer avatars of the voices they hear and thus find a way to talk back to their hallucinations. It has proved so effective that it is now being pursued in four centres across Britain.
Julian was born in Kentish Town, north London, to Vera (nee Levy), a writer, and Sam, a doctor. He left Haberdashers’ Aske’s school at the age of 16 and went to University College London medical school, where he qualified as a doctor. He worked as a house officer at University College hospital and the Whittington hospital before turning to psychiatry.
The main part of his career, from 1972 to 2002, was spent at the Institute of Psychiatry at the Maudsley hospital in south London, where he became professor of social and cultural psychiatry and director of the Medical Research Council’s unit. It was during these years that he pioneered his group and individual sessions with schizophrenia patients. The work led him to visit many other institutions around the world that were keen to have him talk about, and run workshops on, his approach.
During the era when large, old-fashioned mental hospitals began to be closed in favour of care in the community, Julian was director of the team for assessment of psychiatric services at the Maudsley, and from 1985 to 2005 conducted a study of the emotional and social effects of the deinstitutionalisation on 1,500 former patients who had lived in various hospitals. Creative even in retirement, it was after he had finished at the Maudsley that he came up with avatar therapy.
Julian wrote more than 200 papers and nine books on psychiatry, with much of his attention focused on family work with patients in the community. He won the Royal College of Health’s Starkey prize in 1976, the Burgholzli award from the University of Zurich in 1999, the Marsh award for mental health work in 2010, and the Pelicier lifetime achievement award from the World Association of Psychiatry in 2017.
He was a popular personality whose remarkable sense of fun stood him in good stead in the last few years of his life, when he faced a degenerative disease with calmness and humour.
He is survived by his second wife, Joan (nee Raphael), a psychoanalyst who is my first cousin, their three children, Jessa, Jonty and Adriel, a son, Alex, from his first marriage, which ended in divorce, Joan’s son Michael from a previous relationship and nine grandchildren.
Kindly reproduced from The Guardian and written by Matthew Lewin
Peter Cook (1970)
Peter was born on 20th January 1952.
Having left Haberdashers in 1970, Peter went up to Leeds University, where he studied Geography. After graduation, he returned to London and studied to become a Chartered Accountant. On receiving his Articles, rather than working as an accountant, Peter worked for a number of companies, mainly in project and crisis management, putting them back on the straight and narrow and often referring to himself as the company‘s doctor. His last major project, running over a number of years, had been setting up one of the first closed loop recycling plants turning plastic waste back into food grade plastic for re-use.
Peter was a keen rugby player and made his debut for OHRFC in 1970, amassing 325 appearances for the club, including two for the 1st XV, as a wing forward. He will, however for many people, be remembered as Captain of the A XV for a number of years in the early 80s, introducing many a young schoolboy to the joys of Old Boys rugby and making Cookie‘s ‘A‘ XV a team to be played for. Remembering Peter so many of these people have commented on how he went out of his way to make them feel welcome and to ensure they really enjoyed themselves both during and after the match.
Peter sadly suffered a severe stroke in October 2014 and spent his final years in a care home. He received his first Covid vaccination in early January, but unfortunately succumbed to an outbreak of Covid in the care home in the days thereafter and died a few weeks later.
Our thoughts are with his widow, Karen, and daughters Harriet and Katherine.
Written by Charlie Betteridge
Brian Binding (1943)
My former teacher Brian Binding, who has died aged 85 from complications of Covid-19, was a lifelong student and teacher of literature; a musician of some prowess, playing both the viola and the harpsichord; and a man of great style and integrity.
Brian was born in Harrow, north-west London, to Evelyn (nee Martin), a hairdresser, and Edward Binding, a potman working in pubs; his parents later separated. He achieved scholarships to Haberdasher’s Aske’s school, in Elstree, Hertfordshire, and Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied English. FR Leavis was the guiding spirit at Downing, establishing literature as a cultural barometer, and it may have been Leavis’s crusading zeal that persuaded Brian to become an English teacher rather than follow his musical passions and pursue a career in the arts.
He took up his first post in 1958, at Latymer Upper school, in west London, where he taught for more than a decade: Alan Rickman, Robert Cushman, Mel Smith, Raphael Wallfisch and Christopher Guard were among those who benefited from his rigour and good humour. His own star quality could be gauged by his BMW motorbike, his cashmere overcoats and his ever-present pipe, used to emphasise a point or signal a pause. With these characteristics, coupled with an incisive intellect, he made it cool to be clever, and improved the quality of life immensely – well beyond the confines of school – for those he taught.
In 1969 he moved to Bilborough grammar school in Nottingham, and then from 1972 to 1988 he was head of English at the Latymer school, in Edmonton, north London.
Brian loved fine food and wines, and relished conversation and companionship. He could play the fool with gusto, and featured in a number of school pantomimes and entertainments. The irresistible mixture of gravitas and mischief endeared him to generations of pupils. Who could forget his gently sardonic approach as a rowing coach to the less than Olympian efforts of the crews he nurtured?
After retiring from teaching in 1988, Brian studied European languages to a higher level and became a freelance translator. He shared his sense of adventure with friends and family; at the age of nine, his nephew Nick received a fully operational hot air balloon kit as a Christmas gift. On another festive occasion, he tobogganed down Richmond Hill in the snow, egged on by an ex-student and his girlfriend, the evening ending with a violin sonata, hot chocolate laced with brandy and bouts of sparkling laughter.
Brian needed support in the final three years of his life, suffering from microvascular disease, which limited his mobility, memory and joie de vivre. He is survived by his nephews Nick and Philip.
Reproduced from The Guardian with thanks
Michael "Mike" Bovington (1951)
Our father, Michael (Mike) Bovington, died at the age of 88. Born in Golders Green he attended the school from 1943-1951. He married Joan in 1962, having proposed at the rugby club after a match. Luckily they shared a passion for rugby! He was a devoted family man and brought up three daughters and various boxer dogs in Croxley Green.
Sport was a passion. He played cricket and boxed, as well as playing rugby at school (1st XV, 1948-51; Colours, 1949-51. 1st XI, 1950-51. Then, for many years, he played rugby for the OHRFC.
After studying law at King’s College London, Dad worked successfully as a solicitor for the Coal Board pension scheme for thirty years, travelling up to London. The opportunity for early retirement came and Dad embraced this, spending many happy years in retirement. Holidays were often walking holidays across Europe and he spent time developing the Croxley Tennis club. He continued to play until he was 80.
Dad was a generous man and took on roles as a governor of a secondary school and for many years delivered meals on wheels, with Mum, in their local area.
He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
Memories of Mike Bovington by Peter Vacher
I was four years younger than Michael but recall him best as one of the senior sixth-formers at school, a Prefect resplendent in his colourful Prefect’s blazer and tasseled Cap. Definitely a figure of authority. He left the school in 1951, having started at the Westbere Road site in 1943.
After school, Mike played for OHRFC for a number of years and was in the 1st XV in 1956-57, before moving down to the AXV where in the following season he played in 19 matches alongside his older brother and fellow OH Alan, who appeared in 22. Further stretching the family connection, Mike was in brother-in-law Harold Couch’s AXV in 1959-60. In other words, Mike was a pretty constant member of the club throughout these classic years and played at a high level at a time when we regularly fielded six teams. He went on to captain the AXV, our seconds, for two seasons, from 1960 to ‘62, a role also fulfilled at one time by Alan, and succeeded Harold. In the 1961-2 season he made a remarkable 27 appearances.
We became friends once I had joined the rugby club [1955 onwards] and attained the dizzy heights of the Extra A XV, OHRFC’s third team, during the time that Mike was that team’s Captain [1962-1964]. He led by example, always a competitive and quite feisty scrum-half and we seemed to get on pretty well. I took over from him for the following two years [1964-66] with Mike still in the team, and he very kindly organized a commemorative inscribed tankard to mark my time as skipper, a gesture that was both very touching and entirely consistent with his character. During those years, our families overlapped too: Mike and Joan’s three daughters, plus Boxer dog, were often on the touchline watching the games as were Patricia and our three daughters. We didn’t have a dog! Ironically when I gave up the captaincy [or was it re-possessed?], Mike took over again for a year.
As to Mike’s non-rugby life, I believe he served in the London Scottish TA unit, as had his brother, and he qualified as a Solicitor in 1954, having studied at Kings. He worked first in in private practice and then was with the National Coal Board based at Hobart House in London. He and Joan [née Couch] lived very happily in Croxley where they were stalwarts of the local tennis club and Mike was Governor of a local school. Their house in Green Lane was a delight to visit and the garden was stunning.
In later years, Mike stayed involved with the Association and for many years oversaw the Benevolent Fund which exists to help those OH or their family members who need financial help. He became the Association’s President in 1993-4 and most appropriately arranged for his Presidential Ladies Night to be held in the august premises of the Law Society. Mike was also a very regular supporter of the Retired Members or Old Lags lunches which had brightened the Association’s year for the past two decades or more until brought to a juddering halt in 2020 by COVID-19. Deep-voiced, slow-speaking yet unfailingly cordial, and with a wry sense of humour, Mike was a pleasure to know and is a great loss to our Association.
Memories of Michael by Ron Partington
He was known to all his colleagues as Bov during his time at school and it was only later that he was called correctly as Michael. He did well academically, in the Schools Certificate, Matriculation and Advanced level. He achieved prize awards in four consecutive years, together with a Governor’s leaving award.
Michael was involved in many sports and school activities. He was small of stature which was a challenge when playing rugby as scrum half. What he lacked in height he made up in speed of reaction. However, he did get flattened into the mud when caught by opponents. He was in the cricket first XI and the Boxing team. He was a prefect, became a senior N.C.O. (non commissioned officer) in the Cadet force and involved in the School Dramatic Society.
Michael was a loyal and kind friend. He would be supportive in whatever might be asked of him. He was always thoughtful and considered in his responses to questions, so you got a valued opinion.
After completing our National Service commitments as Lieutenants in the army, and a period playing for the Old Boys rugby teams, our ways parted and contact was maintained principally by telephone calls or the Christmas card. In 1958 Michael became my Best Man, when I was married in Bury ( now Greater Manchester), and he was obliged to stay locally overnight. Because my in-laws were strict Methodists there was no alcohol at the wedding breakfast. It was an expensive and long way to travel for a lemonade cocktail! He and Joan attended my golden wedding celebration and I was pleased to say in my speech that it was a pleasure to give him a decent drink for duties performed 50 years previously!!
Michael was my oldest and most loyal friend. I shall always remember him for his kindness, modesty, sensitivity and sense of humour. I will miss him greatly.
Abhishek Banerjee-Shukla ('07)
I am stunned and heartbroken beyond words at Abhishek's passing. What a rollicking, laughter-filled year we had together in Austin, Texas.
Abhishek was an absolute gem. He was, of course, extraordinarily gifted––and in every way that someone can be. But for all his towering gifts, not to mention his astute fashion sense, I remember most fondly Abhishek's unfailing kindness.
Abhishek was always unassuming and humble, sweet and generous, smiling and hysterical. He radiated joy and brought such infectious good cheer and laughter to the court. Everyone in Texas was hopelessly charmed by Abhishek's very proper British accent, which he happily auctioned for charity at the Court's annual holiday auction (agreeing to record a voicemail greeting for the winning bidder).
I am devastated at the passing of this brilliant, wondrous light. And I pray that his family's profound sorrow will, in time, be lightened knowing how universally beloved Abhishek was. He was a true treasure, and my life is far richer for having known and served alongside him.
May Abhishek's memory be a blessing to his dear mother, whom he adored, and to all those who loved him.
Justice Don Willett, Supreme Court of Texas