The Perse School


Robin Harvie-Smith (1952)

Robin Harvie-Smith (1952) passed away on 27 May 2017.

Ingeborg Harvie-Smith writes:

Robin completed his National Service in the Far East and then joined Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1955 to read Law and Economics.

Subsequently, he joined the Legal and General Insurance Company in London where he stayed until 1971, having been promoted to Head of Marketing for the Pension Division. A short spell with the National Mutual of Australasia in 1973 followed. He then joined the Atlantic Assurance and was responsible for the marketing campaign that raised £60 million of Premium income in the first year of operation. This was followed by serving on the management team of Jessel Securities. Subsequently, Robin was appointed Managing Director of Hodge Life in Wales which became the Life Assurance arm of the Standard Chartered Bank.

Previously of excellent health, in 1985 Robin underwent a quadruple heart bypass at the age of 52. This was an era when employers were rather more reticent to offer employment to anyone with such a medical history than they would be today.

Conventional employment for Robin therefore ceased and he applied his energy and enthusiasm to a variety of projects, including the travel industry and antiques, in which he became a respected figure until this death in May 2017.

Throughout his life Robin was proud to be a citizen of, and to have been educated in, Cambridge. Robin leaves a widow, Ingeborg, and is survived by three of his four children.

Obituary published in the Spring/Summer 2018 edition of the OP News magazine

Michael J S Collins (1951)

Michael Collins (1951) passed away on 5 December 2017.

Nigel Collins & Elizabeth Mikkelsen write:

Michael was born on the 17th of July 1932 in Cardiff, Wales. However he and his sister were raised by his mother in Sunbury-on-Thames where they lived through the war and where he attended Halliford School in Shepparton.

In 1944, Michael began at The Perse, following in the footsteps of his uncle, Sir John Farley Spry. These school years were perhaps one of the greatest influences on Michael’s life and certainly the most formative. Michael had many wonderful memories of his time at The Perse, of great lifelong friendships that developed, of acting in plays (alongside the late Peter Hall), of hockey, cricket, tennis and cross country running.

From school, it was on to do his military service, graduating from Officer Cadet School, Aldershot in 1952, before being posted to the Middle East where he was part of the British forces protecting the Suez Canal, and where he ran the military bus and car fleet.

After military service, Michael resumed his education, returning to Peterhouse, Cambridge where he read History and graduated in 1956. In that same year, Michael joined British Petroleum (BP) as a trainee and in 1958, he married Mary Bergh, of Staines, Middlesex. In 1960, Michael received an overseas posting to Australia with his young family: first Melbourne, then on to Brisbane and Toowoomba in Queensland where he worked as a sales representative marketing fuels to the extensive farming community. In March 1962 Michael’s stint in Toowoomba finished and after further brief periods in Sydney and Melbourne, in September 1962 Michael’s secondment to Australia finally came to an end and he and family returned to the UK.

In mid-1964, just 2 years after returning to England, Michael requested an opportunity to return to Australia and fortunately BP Australia were happy to offer Michael a permanent role. So it was back to Sydney arriving in January 1965, and in 1968 another company move took Michael to Melbourne where he and the family settled permanently.

Having been with BP for some 18 years in sales and marketing management roles, and after furthering his own qualifications and teaching Marketing at night at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Michael took a new career opportunity in tertiary and management education joining the Caulfield Institute of Technology in 1974 where his creative flair and passion for education brought fulfilment. In 1978 Michael fulfilled his vision to provide specific courses for the retail industry and so the first Retail Management course was born, followed by diploma and Degree qualifications. Over time, and with much persistence and his usual infectious enthusiasm, this led to the establishment of the Australian Centre of Retail Studies, part of Monash University, in 1990. Michael remained head of the Centre as Associate Professor and Executive Director for the remainder of his career, retiring in 1995.

While it might have been retirement from working life it certainly wasn’t any less energetic with Michael providing his energy and enthusiasm to numerous local volunteer groups and his golf. In particular, his love of history led him to join the Mornington Historical Society, with which he authored a book Our Boys on the Front, looking at the Great War through local eyes. (A copy of this has been provided to The Perse for its collection).

By 1986, the whole family had become Australian Citizens. Over the years, Michael developed a deep love of Australia and its wild and varied landscapes, and was fascinated by its fauna and flora. One of Michael’s many interests was developing gardens filled with a wide collection of native plants to attract birds and wildlife. At one time, he was renowned for having a garden bed in the shape of the Australian continent with a rock representing Tasmania, such was his love of his adopted country. Although there was still a big place in his heart for England, it was clear where his loyalties lay during an Ashes test match … Australia of course!

Throughout his life, Michael loved, most of all, his family and friends. He derived much of his energy from meeting new people and learning their stories: he was interested in everyone and everything. Michael touched and enriched the lives of many people and he always said how his life had been so enriched by others. He cherished his time at The Perse and remained in touch with many old friends, including several who had also settled in Australia, and past tutors, including the late Keith Symons and Keith Barry.

In July 2017 Michael was diagnosed with cancer and passed away peacefully on 5 December with great courage, grace and dignity.

He is remembered for his boundless curiosity, his humility, his great respect for everyone no matter their walk of life, and as a true gentleman.

Michael is survived by wife Mary and children Elizabeth and Nigel.

Obituary published in the Spring/Summer 2018 edition of the OP News magazine

David H Deacon (1954)

David H Deacon (1954) passed away on 31 March 2017.

Sallyann Deacon writes:

David was a stalwart of the Institute of Corrosion, supporting it virtually all of his long working life. In recognition of his service, he was elected an Honorary Life Fellow in 1992, and as a mark of David’s continued significant and influential contributions to the Institute, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award, a unique decoration especially created for him. In 1976 he became the Technical Committee Chairman and Council member and was Chairman of Council from 1986-1988. He took on a part-time role as Honorary Secretary, became Vice-President (twice) and was President from 2002-2004. He also contributed to the work of London Branch between 2013-2015.

David’s career started in 1957 when he joined the British Aluminum Coating Research Laboratories. He became a member of OCCA in 1959 and gained qualifications in Paint Technology and Polymer Chemistry, before joining the British Iron and Steel Research Association, (BISRA) as their first Paint Technologist in 1964. Three years later he was appointed as the Chief Corrosion Technologist with Burmah/Castrol.

In 1970, David formed BIE Anti-Corrosion Company and when this was sold in 1981 he became the Managing Director of the newly formed ITI Anti-Corrosion Inspection Company. Then in 1992, David founded his present consultancy company, the Steel Protection Consultancy (SPC); his son William has followed in his footsteps and is now the Director of SPC.

He was still contributing to projects even up to January 2017 – he wouldn’t go to site but he was pleased to talk through what was happening and even weak as he was, he would still make a valuable contribution in sharing his knowledge in his field. David was part of the team that specified the coatings for renowned structures known world-wide, such as the Thames Barrier and Forth Bridges, to name but a few. David was proud to say he was the person who ended the joke of “Painting the Forth (Rail) Bridge.” When he’d finished it wouldn’t need painting again for at least another 25 years.

People always wanted to know what the ‘H’ stood for as he always used the initial. But he never gave the name: “Humfrey.” It turned out it was a family name, and way back one of the early holders had left a bequest to any of the male descendants who had it in their name, and this legacy has followed on with his sons and grandson.

He’d been a proud Public Schoolboy, attending as a border at Perse School from a young age. He always remembered his Latin master at the time christened him Praelatus – because he was a ‘Deacon’ and therefore must be a prelate of some description. Evidently this chap had a Latin nickname for everyone in the school. David had also been a good sportsman in his day – playing cricket for the Counties Hampshire and Berkshire, he was a very useful footballer too and a life-long Reading supporter.

Obituary published in the Spring/Summer 2018 edition of the OP News magazine

David Berrie (1971)

David Berrie (1971) passed away on 2 January 2017.

Chris Berrie (1975) writes:

Recently, we said goodbye to our big brother, David, who was the first of the five ‘Berrie boys’ to pass through the Perse. David was also husband to Dr Angela Berrie (née Burgess) for just over 40 years. He was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, as for Dennis (#2; 1971) and Christopher (myself, #3; 1975), with the last two brothers, Peter (#4; 1978) and Nigel (#5; 1981), born in Sydney, Australia.

David was the first of us to attend the Perse, as a boarder when the rest of us were in Malawi with our parents. Although he maybe did not have such a fun time as a boarder, he did start the family tradition for our relatively long association with the Perse, and in particular, with the Perse Boarding Houses, which we all passed through at some time or another during our progress through the Perse. Although these memories are many and various for each of us, and although they remain alive, this cannot be said for the Boarding Houses, and already, for some friends, and indeed now, for our brother, David.

From the Perse, David moved on to the CCAT, as it was then known, to do his ‘A’-levels, due to the influx of the next two of us at the Perse. He later gained a place at Aberystwyth University, although this was also the start of some of the problems he had throughout his life. The good side was that, when he was starting his first year again (after leaving following a mental breakdown), on the 7 October, 1972, he met Angela Burgess for the first time, on the steps of the Great Hall of Aberystwyth University. This was to be a relationship that lasted for the rest of his life.

Eventually, David left university without completing a degree due to his mental problems, and following their marriage in 1977, he and Angela moved to Kent, in 1979, eventually buying their own place in Boughton Lees. Angela had gained her PhD, and started working at the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service (ADAS, as it was then) in Wye. David worked at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital for the next 17 years, which were probably their most enjoyable times, work-wise. Through these years, Angela continued to progress as a Fruit Pathologist, more recently at East Malling Research, which is now part of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany.

However, throughout his adult life David was plagued by mental issues, along with which he seemed to accumulate further problems. This included a drink problem, although when he finally left us in late 2017 he had remained “dry” for 15 years. He had foot problems too, which started around the time of the death of our father, in 2007. These problems prevented him from working again, and in 2009 he had to have a leg amputated due to worsening infection, which also coincided with the bad periods of MRSA in our hospitals (where he himself initially became infected). He managed well enough with his artificial leg (known as George) for some years, and then later on in a wheelchair, and he and Angela enjoyed many trips out and about, throughout the UK.

Although David had a relatively quiet life, he does have some ‘claims to fame’. These started back at university, where as a young communist in Aber, he was also a member of both the Conservative and Labour parties! His interest in politics survived throughout most of his life, although following his (unsuccessful) attempt as a Liberal Democrat candidate for Wye in the Parish elections in 2007, he was also one of the first to return his membership card following the formation of the coalition government in 2010. Another event that remains with us was when he disappeared during one of his bad periods, and he joined the French Foreign Legion. However, he returned to the UK soon after, once they realised he had left his medication back at home!

David loved cats, who provided him with good company through the years, although a number were lost to the increasing traffic that passed in front of their house, which David campaigned against in a number of ways. He also loved cooking, and helped to supply many a neighbour and local fete or fair with his cakes, marmalades, jams and chutneys. David was also an artist, a letter writer and a poet. He would often sketch when he and Angela were out for weekends, and he kept the local press up to date with a number of the growing problems in their area. His poetry was probably his most prolific pastime in his later years, with many poems published in the local Parish magazine.

Each of us brothers has our own memories of our big brother, David. However, it is Angela who knew him best over their 40 years of marriage, which included some difficult times, she says, but also some wonderful times. As she said, “David could be difficult, but was mostly a kind, generous person, who was always willing to help. Above all, as well as my husband, David was my best friend, and I will miss him terribly.” As we all do, in our own ways.

RIP, bruv.

Obituary published in the Spring/Summer 2018 edition of the OP News magazine

Mike Strawson (1960)

Mike Strawson (1960) passed away on 8 October 2017.

Val Strawson writes:

Mike Strawson had a varied and successful career in international trade, and as one of Britain’s most respected export trainers. He was also an amateur baker, charity fundraiser, real ale lover, father, stepfather and grandfather, who will be sorely missed by all who knew him. In the words of his colleague at Chamber International, director Tim Bailey, “Mike was highly respected and regarded with affection by our whole team, not just for his considerable expertise in exporting but for his qualities as a wise, kind and considerate individual.”

Mike was particularly well-known and highly regarded in Yorkshire, where he hosted networking events and helped hundreds of companies to start exporting during his 13 years as Chamber International’s senior export trainer. Chamber International paid tribute to him as “a kind, relaxed man, who dispensed wisdom and mirth in equal measure, Mike was a sharp dresser with an equally sharp mind. Even into his 70s, he was always prepared to work late and travel long distances to meet with businesses to give advice on exporting.”

Mike’s career spanned a range of industries and took him around the world. While he was at Croda International PLC, a major manufacturer of chemicals, he managed a highly successful international trade department. This led to him mentoring three other companies, as well as providing guidance during the company’s visits to the Middle East. He then co-founded a company importing furniture, afterwards turning his attention to the UK adhesives industry, creating a new division for Datac Adhesives Ltd, training its staff and accompanying a director on visits to South East Asia. Following this, Mike formed Novatech Adhesives to buy and export cyanoacrylate adhesives, alongside mentoring other companies in the sector, helping them to maximise their international trade.

His talent for bringing out the best in companies and individuals led Mike to concentrate on training through his business, The Export Trainer Ltd. He also created and delivered training for UK Trade & Investment, now the Department of International Trade, and trained export professionals in Trinidad, Malaysia, Iran, France, Germany and Singapore. Mike’s remarkable contribution to international trade was recognised by the Institute of Export and International Trade in May 2017 when he became only the third person in the history of the Institute to be presented with a Lifetime Achievement award.

Outside work, Mike was a Spiritualist with a strong Christian base, a loving family man to his wife, Val, a father of two, stepfather of three and grandfather of eight. He sadly passed away on Sunday 8 October 2017 after a brave battle with cancer.

Obituary published in the Spring/Summer 2018 edition of the OP News magazine

Sir David Tang (1973)

Sir David Tang (1973) passed away on 29 August 2017.

Jane Owen writes:

In 2010 I rang David Tang and asked him to write a piece on interior design. We had not met. His response was forthright and surprising: “No. Interior design is crap,” he bellowed down the phone. “‘OK, so write that,” I bellowed back.

We had lunch at his set in Albany off Piccadilly and decided on an interior design Agony Uncle column. But the column’s subject matter kept drifting away from interior design to generalised name-dropping and anecdotes. Some readers loved it. Others hated it. Some FT staffers thought it funny. Others thought it unspeakable. Magic: a Marmite column!

One of the agonies of the column from the FT’s perspective was, sometimes, late delivery. David’s excuses, delivered in righteous tones, were in a class of their own:
“Tomorrow morning at 9GMT. It’s ancestral grave sweeping holiday today. I will be haunted if I work.”
“Kate Moss is making me have tattoos.”
“The Queen says you are making me work too hard.”
“I’m touring with The Stones.”
“I’m organising a fashion show on the Great Wall of China.”
“I’m shooting in Liechtenstein/at Blenheim/Balmoral.”

Threatening to cut his FT pay, the traditional recourse of editors to recalcitrant columnists had no effect. However much he declared that he was not rich (David’s claim that he travelled economy was based on the fact that private jets, borrowed or otherwise, have only one class), he had a range of businesses and also seemed to do pretty well at gambling.
“You know you are talking to someone who have [sic] lost two entire fortunes on the roulette and won 350 thousand grand on it last week, being a bit vulgar!” he emailed a couple of years ago. He probably meant £350,000 rather than £350,000,000, but even so…

The columns were worth waiting for. The jokes were both terrible and brilliant, (“ ‘Herro’ ”, I once said entering a room full of English boys. One of them stood up and said: ‘Eton actually!’ ”) but his copy took up a lot of the FT lawyer’s time and included a remarkable variety of factual inaccuracies. David regarded the FT’s concern with getting the facts right as eccentric and bourgeois.

When asked to be more careful he replied: “Careful? Since when has the progress of Man been ever resulted from that insular approach of safety?” When the FT HR team emailed David with an invitation (order) to attend FTHQ for health and safety instruction he replied: “I would rather have a red hot poker up my arse.”

Political correctness was as low on David’s list of priorities as health and safety which meant that chunks of his columns had to be scrapped, regularly. This usually led to a forthright exchange of views. I would then attempt to sack him. And vice versa.
Even his non-controversial columns had their problems. For instance:
Me: “What does ‘Come-in Banana’ mean? Nobody here has heard of it.”
DT: “OMG: you lot are really lowbrow! Carmina Burana the great coral [sic] work by carl orff (old spice ad!). Hence all the puns! Cor blimey einstein!”

Communication with David was sometimes baffling:
Me: “Would you be able to do a video series along the lines of ‘David Tang’s weird and wonderful world’?”
DT: “ ‘O Oysters,’ said the Carpenter,
‘You’ve had a pleasant run!Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none —
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.”

We never made the video series and, given David’s social and travel schedules, it would have been a struggle. He entertained constantly and generously but was a stickler when it came to timekeeping. When guests stayed 15 minutes beyond the specified time at his Rules for Modern Life book launch at Annabel’s last year, David bellowed to the assembled dukes, politicians and glitterati: “F*** off. The party’s over.”

David had dizzying travel arrangements, pinging between Hong Kong, Cuba, New York, Nice, Caracas, Shanghai, all while emailing jokes, gossip, pictures (DT with Mick Jagger/a motorbike lavatory in Taiwan/on the Getty yacht/Theresa May’s cleavage) and news about his latest conquests from royalty to showbiz to plutocrats. He was irrepressible until, in 2014, he came up with his most extreme “late copy” excuse yet: “I have just had a 10-hour op.”

That was the first I knew that he had liver cancer. I now know that he had been in pain for some time. He never complained.
Instead he told me:
“I have been reading Neruda’s ‘Ode to the Liver’! Did you know he wrote one? Marvellous.”
With great difficulty, and with FT editor Lionel Barber’s help, I persuaded David to have a four-week rest from writing columns. He complained bitterly about his enforced holiday. Over the next few years he was in and out of hospital but hid the fact from me so that he could go on writing his column.

Three weeks ago, after David had told me he had been informed that he did not have long to live, I went to see him at the Royal Marsden hospital in London. We had agreed to write his obituary together. The original plan had been to write it in mid-September but, suddenly, the date had come forward. His voice was croaky, weak, terrible. I asked him to stop talking but he insisted: “It’s my physio. I have to speak.”

I said he should forget any thought of writing columns or appearing at the FT Weekend Festival on September 2. He did not make it but, at the time, David was defiant: “I will appear at the Festival even if I have to get there in this bed.”
“Anyway, look,” he said, pulling an iPad from the bedclothes. “This is the guest list for my party at the Dorchester on September 6. I want intimacy except I’ve booked the London Symphony Orchestra and Hélène Grimaud to play for one and three quarter hours. There will be no special hugging or saying goodbye. If you see me again fine. If not, fine.”

It is not fine.

This article was originally published in the Financial Times and is reproduced here with kind permission.

Obituary published in the Autumn/Winter 2017 edition of the OP News magazine

Sir Peter Hall (1949)

Sir Peter Hall (1949) passed away on 11 September 2017.

Sir Peter Hall was a giant of British theatre and has been instrumental in the development of two of the country’s greatest arts institutions. The legacy he left in the Royal Shakespeare Company, which he founded in 1960, and the National Theatre, which he moved to its home on the South Bank in the mid-1970s, will live on in future generations of actors, directors, and theatre-goers.

Peter Reginald Frederick Hall was born in Bury St Edmund’s in 1930, the only son of Reginald and Grace Hall. His father worked on the railways and his promotion to stationmaster resulted in the family moving to Barnham in rural Suffolk, then to Cambridge and nearby Shelford. Peter came to The Perse on a scholarship and shone during his time at the School, becoming Head of School in his final year, as well as achieving colours in tennis. He also gave a celebrated performance as Hamlet in 1949, which demonstrated his emerging talent as an actor. The reviewer for the Pelican magazine wrote that “Undoubtedly he was the nerve-centre of the performance, and in more than the usual way. He not only expressed overflowing life in his own role, he infected others … The completeness of the dramatic illusion he established, the integrity of his acting, many of us will long remember.” This prediction proved correct, and it is clear nearly 70 years on that his astonishing performance is still firmly imprinted on many OPs’ memories.

After The Perse, Hall went on to do National Service, serving as an aircraftman in West Kirby, Warwickshire, and in Germany. He then won an exhibition to read English at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. During his time at Cambridge he was strongly influenced by OP FR Leavis (1914), as well as George ‘Dadie’ Rylands, who dominated the student theatre group the Marlowe Society and was devoted to its belief in the importance of verse-speaking in productions of Shakespeare. It was not until Hall’s final year that he established himself as a director of student theatre, but this was the beginning of a meteoric rise. In 1953, the year he graduated, his undergraduate production of Pirandello’s Henry IV was given a two week run at the Arts Theatre in London. He was soon offered directorship of the Arts, so aged 24 began running his own London theatre. In 1955 he was presented with the script of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, which he found “startlingly original”. Positive reviews in The Observer and The Times followed, and Hall was quickly established as a bright young talent.

Soon afterwards, having made his name in Stratford with productions of Love’s Labour Lost, Cymbeline, and Twelfth Night, Hall was offered the position of the theatre’s director. However, he was not content with simply running a successful annual Shakespeare festival. He had a vision of a theatre company in which actors would have longer-term contracts, and that would devote itself both to creating ground-breaking productions of Shakespeare and to using the skills the company had honed in performing his plays to stage new works. The result was the creation of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which provided a permanent base from which to launch creative reinterpretations of Shakespeare, such as his 1963 production of The Wars of the Roses with John Barton, which refashioned the original tetralogy into a trilogy, and wove the political tensions of the 1960s into these history plays.

In 1968, Hall handed the reins at the RSC over to Trevor Nunn and spent several years as a freelance director of plays, operas, and films, achieving great success with productions of Mozart and Monterverdi at Glyndebourne. However, he had a great talent for taking the reins himself, and in 1972 succeeded Laurence Olivier as director of the National Theatre. His great achievement in this role was the move to the National Theatre’s new home on the South Bank. Nevertheless, alongside this triumph of leadership and determination, during these years his creative output as a director included highly-regarded productions of Antony and Cleopatra, starring Judi Dench and Anthony Hopkins, and Tony Harrison’s version of The Oresteia. Sir Peter was knighted in 1977 in recognition of his services to the theatre.

After he left the National Theatre in 1988, Hall continued to be catalyst for many new creative initiatives, establishing the Peter Hall Company, developing an annual summer season at the Theatre Royal, Bath, and playing a crucial role in the opening of the Rose Theatre, Kingston. Some of his most acclaimed work as a director also dates from this latter part of his career, including Orpheus Descending (1988) starring Vanessa Redgrave and The Merchant of Venice (1989) starring Dustin Hoffman. In 2010, to celebrate his 80th birthday, he returned to the National to direct Twelfth Night, starring one of his daughters, Rebecca Hall, as Viola.

Sir Peter remained a loyal friend of The Perse throughout his life, and many Old Perseans who attended the School in the 1960s will remember him returning to the School’s Speech Day in 1962 with his first wife, Hollywood star Leslie Caron.
Sir Peter is survived by his widow, Nichola, and his six children.

Obituary published in the Autumn/Winter 2017 edition of the OP News magazine

Eric Peter John Genochio (1954)

Eric Peter John Genochio (1954) passed away on 29 August 2017.

Richard Genochio (1963) writes:

Peter Genochio (1954), the elder son of Colonel Eric Genochio and Audrey Genochio, was killed while defending himself from bandits on his farm in Brazil in September 2016. He was the second Genochio in two generations to have been murdered. In 1922, his uncle, Lt. Henry Genochio (Royal Engineers), was murdered by the IRA in Cork.

Peter was an officer in the old-style (and very British) Merchant Navy. He left the merchant marine in the late 1960s to become First Officer on the British Antarctic Survey vessel ‘John Biscoe’, sister ship of ‘Shackleton’. He then became Chief Officer of the Sail Training Association’s square-rigger ‘Malcolm Miller, sister ship of ‘Winston Churchill’. He also spent a period as a Bonny River tanker pilot in Nigeria. He first came ashore as the manager of The Water Industry Industrial Training Board’s training college. This job he loathed. He returned to sea as Captain of MV ‘Timber Queen’, plying the Baltic timber trade. He finally came ashore by creating his own marine insurance company in Saudi Arabia and then in Salvador in Brazil. He was very successful in this field, and was able to leave it to buy a farm in Lapa province in southern Brazil. Without any prior experience of farming he continued in this activity, in spite of his apparent dislike of Brazil.

He was born in Cairo during the Second World War. His mother and he were soon dispatched by the Army to the safety of accommodation with a South African family who owned a sugar farm near Durban. Although his mother kept a loaded revolver at her bedside, on the farm he ran fairly free, playing with the children of the ‘boys’ i.e. the farmworkers. He was unencumbered by schooling. This did not make for an easy return when the family settled in Cambridge. He found school most disagreeable. Moving to The Perse was a challenge. He did not shine. He did not like the School, a feeling which was reciprocated.

When he was 14, his parents, much to his relief, wisely sent him to H.M.S. Conway the Merchant Navy training college on Anglesey. (A contemporary at H.M.S. Conway was fellow Old Persean Peter Burns.) At Conway he flourished. He joined the Union Castle line as a midshipman on the line’s cargo ships, later transferring to the Blue Funnel line and to Holt Brothers. These took him to further-flung ports whose very names – Port Swettenham, Port Moresby, Penang, Walvis Bay, Lobito, Laurenco Marques – evoke the places & atmosphere found in the books of Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene.

Politically he moved further and further to the right. He lamented the decline of the British merchant navy and of British shipbuilding, which he regarded as a symbol of the UK’s irreversible decline as a result of socialist misrule. He declined to return to his own country with which he could no longer identify. Paradoxically, at the same time he became increasingly xenophobic yet chose to live & work in countries (Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Brazil) which he heartedly despised.

However he was by no means a misanthrope. In Brazil he became the single largest donor to a school for those with learning difficulties, and likewise to an old people’s home. During his time on the Sail Training Association’s ‘Malcolm Miller’ he showed exceptional empathy with young handicapped or socially disadvantaged people who made up some of the crews.

Peter could be very convivial company but he remained something of a tortured soul,. He was not destined to be entirely happy in any environment other than on board ship. His death marks the passing of a remarkable man who never found peace in the modern world, yet had a life which was more remarkable than he probably realised.

Obituary published in the Autumn/Winter 2017 edition of the OP News magazine

Frederick Taylor (1940)

Frederick Taylor (1940) passed away on 18 September 2016.

Peter Taylor writes:

Fred Taylor entered The Perse via the Preparatory School and, although he was perhaps unduly modest about his academic achievements, took a keen interest in a range of activities including the Officer Training Corps and amateur dramatics. He was particularly gifted as an athlete, being Victor Ludorum in both 1939 and 1940. On leaving The Perse in the summer of 1940 he enlisted in the Suffolk Regiment, serving as an NCO until commissioned into the Frontier Force Rifles in the Indian Army in 1941. He served in Burma, Ceylon, and the North West Frontier of India until September 1946, attaining the rank of major. After the war he joined the Metropolitan Police, leaving after 18 months to take a course at the LSE, and then joined the Probation Service, for which he worked in Middlesex and Hampshire until 1961. In a change of role he next took up a senior mental health post with Durham County Council, remaining until 1966 when he joined the Department of Health and Social Security Social Work Service, retiring in 1983. He also found time to take an Open University degree course. His retirement in Steyning in West Sussex was very active with an involvement in a range of charities and local government bodies, including membership of West Sussex County Council Social Services Committee and chairing West Worthing District Community Health Council. He was awarded the MBE for services to charities and mental health in 2000. Fred died on 18 September 2016.

Obituary published in the Autumn/Winter 2017 edition of the OP News magazine

Donald Kenrick (1947)

Donald Kenrick (1947) passed away on 12 November 2015.

Originally published in The Guardian

The Roma or gypsy communities – as well as other migrant groups such as the Irish travellers – have not had many loyal supporters from outside their own tight-knit worlds. Donald Kenrick was a marked exception. He became particularly fascinated by Roma music and culture, publishing extensively on the history of the European ~Roma and in particular the persecution they had suffered from the Nazis.

As a local authority education official working in Britain, he was an expert on the difficulties faced by those communities. When individual Roma or travellers became caught up in, for example, planning disputes, Kenrick often became their adviser and agent. He also helped many European Roma who came to Britain from formerly communist countries after the end of the Cold War.

Kenrick’s sympathy for such groups came partly from his upbringing in a Polish Jewish family living in Hackney, east London, where he was born in 1929. After wartime evacuation to Cambridge, he was given a place at The Perse School, which had a strong academic reputation. Its provision for teaching languages – including Sanskrit – fired Kenrick’s linguistic enthusiasm.
He added to languages learnt at home and school by picking up Arabic while on National Service in Egypt, where he worked for the British Forces Broadcasting Service. Returning to Britain, he rejected offers to study at what he saw as “elitist” Cambridge or Oxford, choosing London University instead, where he studied Arabic and Hebrew and obtained a first-class degree.
He spent time abroad teaching Arabs and nomads in Morocco, picking up the Berber language too. While working at a Danish school in London he met and married Bente, an architect. They had a daughter, Timna, who worked in the public sector until her recent retirement.

It was in the late 1950s that Kenrick’s interest in the Roma was sparked – he was attending an Esperanto conference in Bulgaria, where he was living at the time. Always keen to learn about folk music and dance, he wondered which language local musicians were singing as they serenaded restaurant tables. His companions thought it might be Turkish, but the musicians told him it was Romani. He began to learn more about Roma language, history and contemporary life, and he gained his PhD for an analysis of the Drindari dialect of Romani.

Back in Britain, he became involved with the Gypsy Council, which was prominent in trying to prevent a series of evictions of travelling people in England. At the first World Gypsy Congress, held near London in 1971, he was in demand as a translator with an almost unique ability to interpret between many of those present. One researcher he worked with estimated that Kenrick could translate from more than 60 languages and spoke around 30 of them.

His researches into Roma history bore fruit with the publication in 1972 of The Destiny of Europe’s Gypsies, co-written with Grattan Puxon; the book focused on Roma and Sinti suffering during the Holocaust. Kenrick’s later publications included Gypsies: From the Ganges to the Thames and The Romani World: A historical dictionary of the Gypsies.

His historical knowledge in turn fed attempts to secure more compensation for groups such as the Roma for their fate at the hands not only of Nazi Germany but also in other places, such as wartime Croatia, where thousands were murdered and large amounts of property stolen. Kenrick led International Romani Union delegations to conferences abroad discussing compensation.

When communist rule ended in central and eastern Europe in 1989, Kenrick found members of many of the European Roma communities he had studied facing renewed persecution. “Racism against gypsies shows no sign of abating,” he wrote, “and the majority of the new democratically elected governments in the east have neither the will nor the ability to change popular attitudes.” He said that most Roma would prefer to stay where they were, but he warned that failure to address persecution would lead to large-scale Roma migration. While in his seventies, he tried to help some of those arriving in Britain to make asylum claims. “There’s at least ten cases every day,” he said. “I come along when I can, find a case and do my best to get the government to see that these people are genuinely persecuted because of their race.”

Kenrick also worked extensively for members of the British gypsy and traveller communities in disputes with local authorities over matters such as caravan pitches and building controls. He argued that better provision for such groups was needed not just to allow old traditions of movement to be maintained, but also to allow hundreds of families to pursue their livelihoods in jobs such as knife-grinding.

He taught individuals to read and understand the intricacies of planning law. He would sometimes travel from London to Scotland to defend a family threatened with eviction from a campsite, returning in time the next day to teach one of his adult education classes. He died of a heart attack on November 12, 2015, aged 86.

Obituary published in the Autumn/Winter 2017 edition of the OP News magazine

Jamie Gardiner (2013)

Jamie Gardiner (2013) passed away on 2 January 2017.

Adrian Roberts writes:

The tragic death of Jamie Gardiner in a climbing accident in Norway in January 2017 came as a devastating shock to all who knew him during his time at The Perse.

Loving the outdoor life from an early age, Jamie’s adventurous spirit found expression in his dedication to the Perse Exploration Society. He revelled in the challenges provided by PES British and overseas expeditions and readily volunteered for leadership and organisational roles in them. One example of his initiative is that in the Ascent Group in Year 10 he was the first pupil to bring spreadsheets and full costings to the food-ordering process and used calorie calculations to justify a rise in food budget for camp. Many younger members of PES were grateful for his willingness to share his know-how and give encouragement under tough conditions and it was typical of Jamie that he was prepared to give his time to PES activities even after he left school. Considering his strength in the mountains it was not surprising that Jamie’s main sporting prowess lay in endurance activities, especially cross-country and rowing. He was a regular and enthusiastic participant in the Roman Road Run and had promised to compete once again in 2017.

In the classroom Jamie was one of the intellectual leaders of his year. Possessed of a sharp intelligence and an articulate voice he excelled in all academic pursuits, achieving outstanding examination results. His genuine love of scholarship and independence of mind found expression in investigative reading and research, development of unconventional interpretations and frequent presentations to school societies. Jamie relished discussion and staff had to be on their mettle when Jamie questioned a thin explanation or a lazy judgement. He played a leading role in debating, organised the Senior Debating Society and represented the school in ‘Youth Speaks’ and English Speaking Union competitions. Following meticulous preparation Jamie deservedly won a place to read History at St Hugh’s, Oxford. In 2016 he emerged with a First, gained at the same time as playing a leading role in college life: another example of his masterful ability to successfully balance many commitments.

Jamie’s strong work ethos, attention to detail and concern for others made him an ideal candidate for Head of School, where he proved to be a superb ambassador for The Perse, a respected role model and a sympathetic advocate of the interests of younger pupils. At Speech Day 2012 he gave a wickedly amusing presentation which included some well-judged humour poking fun at the Headmaster’s speed of delivery. Few would have opted for such a high-risk joke on a very public occasion and fewer still would have pulled it off.

Throughout his five years at the Perse Jamie exemplified so many admirable qualities: unfailing politeness and modesty, consideration for others, intellectual vigour, a capacity for relentless hard work, steely determination. With these attributes he would have made a success of whatever career path he chose.

The thoughts of the whole Perse community are with his family and friends. His sterling character and his enduring contribution to the school will not be forgotten. All those who knew him have been enriched by the experience.

The Class of 2013 remember Jamie:

Aoife Cantrill: Jamie and I first became friends through our shared love of history. When I joined the Perse we were placed in the same form, and the same history class. As a result we spent many a hour discussing the ins and outs of Tudor foreign policy and other highlights of the A Level history syllabus. Jamie was a natural conversationalist, with the ability to turn even the most mundane of topics (of which Tudor foreign policy may well be one) into an engaging and witty subject of discussion.

Aside from being classmates we also happened to be neighbours living on the same street in Cambridge. We would often go for walks in Grantchester or Newnham College gardens, punctuated by a lunch made up of the highly calorific snacks that Jamie was partial to at the time. We both ended up at Oxford studying history, where our regular debriefs and gossip sessions were very much reminiscent of our A level years. I hold dear the time we spent laughing and bickering with each other and our friends. I will sorely miss the companionship and advice of such a wonderful friend.

Will Fenby: Where Jamie truly came in to his own was when cooking, an activity in which he could truly let the creative juices flow. Given his well-documented love of the outdoors, there can be no better setting for a cooking anecdote than the Scout Camp Cordon Bleu of 2009. Never one to stick to the Spaghetti Bolognese-themed status quo, Jamie’s main course was a masterful blend of literary extravagance and culinary ambition: Pan-fried chicken breast in a white wine reduction, served with crispy potato rosti. Incandescent with rage I was quick to point out that the obvious limitations of scout cooking meant everything was, by necessity, ‘pan-fried’. Needless to say, Mr Gardiner romped home to victory, in part no doubt due to his impressive diplomacy in sourcing so much wine aged 14. I believe this triumph truly sums up what was best about Jamie: hugely ambitious, precocious, eloquent, eccentric and, ultimately, a fabulous source of anecdotes. He is and forever will be sorely missed.

Eloise Wilson: My favourite memory of Jamie, and I’m sure that it’s a treasured one held by many amongst our peers, was during rehearsals for the senior prefects’ dance. For a few weeks before the cabaret we commandeered the room over the Margaret Stubbs pavilion and asked some of our friends to help us choreograph. After carefully selecting music for mass appeal it was deemed that the boys would have their very own solo, to Justin Bieber’s ‘Boyfriend’. Jamie was, as ever, keen to get stuck in and proved he was a real mover and shaker in every sense, much to the delight of the crowd!

Jamie was always a calming presence, a steadiness whose joie de vivre was infectious. He was a real partner when it came to writing speeches or trying not to laugh on stage.

He was a man well beyond his years and as I cycle past the Red Bull on visits home I’m often reminded of him. If you should find yourself in our neck of the woods, please raise a glass to a wonderful young man who is gone but never forgotten.

Phil Sansom: I met Jamie as soon as I arrived at the Perse in Year 9, and he rapidly became my best friend. I was a quiet kid, with few hobbies, but thanks to his constant enthusiasm, his interests quickly became mine. He’d insist on us cycling home together every day after school and chatting side by side. He confidently invited himself round to my house to play video games; later in school we planned and cooked meals for groups of friends. His unfettered enjoyment of Scouts was especially infectious – from an early age the outdoors was his passion, and so became mine as well. But Jamie never let himself be limited by the options available. When the number of school-organised trips wasn’t enough for him, he organised his own. I was amazed when in Year 11 he began to take me and other eager volunteers on his own expeditions: camping in nearby forests; hiking in the Peak District; and, after leaving The Perse, a demented voyage down the River Tweed in inflatable canoes. I feel privileged to have known him at the Perse. He made so much of the person I am now, and I still miss him every day.

Will Aichison: One of Jamie’s many passions was food. I remember clearly the elaborate spreadsheets that he constructed before PES trips, detailing every last herb and spice needed for their less than spartan dinners. Even long after we left school for Oxford, food was the first concern on any expedition. For one such trip to Edale, Jamie decided that we couldn’t do without the PES fire pit to cook on. Michaelmas term at The Perse had not yet begun so the enormous pit onto the roof rack. Will Fenby supplied a rabbit and a pheasant, and 8 hours later, tent pitched in a damp field, a dinner was prepared worthy of the PES trips of old. Needless to say the fire pit was returned, looking all the better for its holiday up North. Besides being a conscientious head boy, Jamie had a sparky sense of fun and a wicked humour. So adept at raising the tone in class, he would also happily lower it among friends; and I would say his tongue was sharpest when he was cooking, livening food preparation with the cut and thrust of his distinctive wit. Alongside Jamie’s remarkable achievements, I will remember him as the boyish and mischievous friend he was and will always be.

Maya King: It is so hard to sum Jamie up in a few words or stories. One of my favourite memories was on a recent trip to Norfolk where Jamie – intrepid as ever – led the way through a river to explore the thick mud on the other side. We spent hours playing childlike mud-fights and ‘how deep can you get your foot’ competitions, ending up caked in the stuff – ‘elbow deep’ as Jamie said. Jamie was so full of life, passionate for adventure and partial to a good deep chat along the way. Not to mention his excellent (and occasionally brutal) sense of humour. But it is his profound kindness and thoughtful nature I will remember him by and miss him for most.

Obituary published in the Spring/Summer 2017 edition of the OP News magazine

Wing Commander Tony Billinghurst

Tony Billinghurst passed away on 19 December 2016.

David Jones writes:

Tony Billinghurst, who has died aged 91, was the last of his generation of long-serving Perse masters. He taught French and contributed enormously to games, the Scouts, the CCF and the Old Persean Society.

Tony was born on 15 January 1925 and educated at Rutlish School and, after National Service in the RAF, King’s College, London. He joined The Perse in 1952 and remained until retirement in 1990. He was instrumental in establishing French exchange trips and initiated the idea of 13+ entry in 1982.

His contribution outside the classroom was huge. He was housemaster of Northwold House (1975–89) and CCF Contingent Commander (1965–90) with the rank of Wing Commander; he was awarded the OBE in 1991 for his services. The Scouting Association’s Medal of Merit recognised his work for the Scouts. As master i/c cricket he established the annual Perse v MCC fixture; he continued to play for the Old Perseans when in his seventies. In the 1950s he revitalised the Old Persean Rugby Club under the name Perse Wanderers. By the mid-1960s they were an almost unbeatable side with an impressive fixture list. For many years he was a major figure in the OP Society and was editor of the OP Chronicle in the 1990s.

Tony led Perse expeditions to Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Spitsbergen, preceded by CCF Arduous Training expeditions to North Wales and the Cairngorms, where winter mountaineering techniques were taught. His interest in polar exploration was evident in his extensive library. In retirement he translated JB Charcot’s Towards the South Pole, the explorer’s account of the first French Antarctic expedition 1903–05 (published by the Scott Polar Institute in 2004).

Tony was a remarkable all-rounder with boundless energy and enthusiasm. Countless pupils and staff owe their interests to the spark first ignited by him, whether for club cricket or calligraphy, Glyndebourne or the Goons. He and his wife Jeannine made Northwold House a centre of hospitality. His fish soup and lavish gin-and-tonics were famous. At the wheel of his Daimler, in evening dress, he looked impeccably distinguished, yet this was the same man who in his fifties could engage in a soda-siphon duel with his house tutor or join in the infamous Cushion Dance with great gusto. He had a ready turn of humour and non-malicious wit: there was nothing pompous or self-important about him, but few people have given so much to the school or have been central to it for so long.

Old Perseans remember Mr Billinghurst:
Simon Winfield (1978): Many a scary ride in the Ford Transit, pointing out terminal moraines with one hand while trying to stay on winding narrow Scottish roads with the other. Wonderful energetic passionate man.

Graham Cooper (1957): My most amusing recollection was Tony teaching us the French drinking song ‘Chevaliers de la Table Ronde’. At some point in our croaking – I like to think it was the couplet ‘J’en boirai cinq ou six bouteilles, une femme sur les genoux’ – Stanley Stubbs appeared and forbade further such disreputable singing. Tony’s friendly, un-teacherly, time-for-all attitude instilled confidence in us – and lingers today.

Mark Saggers (1977):He was always late for French which suited me fine – always there for cricket which was even better! He cared, loved left arm spinners and the Scouts. Thank you Tony.

Christopher Chao (1988): Mr Billinghurst was the Master of Northwold House, where I lived for three years between 82 and 85, as well as my French teacher. He will be fondly remembered. He was truly a great teacher but more importantly, a good man.

Charles Clayton (1975):I think that the influence Tony Billinghurst had on me and my contemporaries at school was very profound. He gave us an introduction to a world quite different from that of our everyday experience. For many of us, this involvement with the outdoors has been a major theme of our lives.

Obituary published in the Spring/Summer 2017 edition of the OP News magazine

Richard Trillwood (1953)

Richard Trillwood passed away on 6 December 2016.

Brian Hunt (1955) writes:

Richard Trillwood and I first met in 1943 when we entered the first year of the Perse Preparatory School. I particularly remember him in our Perse days for his large repertoire of novelty songs and imitations of people, accents and noises. He was a member of the CCF in which he took up target shooting and represented The Perse in the National Championships at Bisley. He left The Perse in 1953 to start an engineering apprenticeship during which he studied at the Cambridge College of Arts and Technology and received a B.S. in electrical engineering.

Richard was a keen motorcyclist which put him in Addenbrooke’s Hospital for a few days following an accident – a lucky accident as it turned out because it was there that he met his future wife, Pat, who was a registered nurse. They were married in 1958.

In 1968, Richard made a bold and pivotal step in his career: he started a business (Wentgate Engineers Ltd.) manufacturing Electron Beam (EB) welders. The initial machine was designed in Richard’s back bedroom and was the world’s first small-chamber EB welder. Wentgate’s business in the USA led to Richard, Pat, and three of their four children moving to Southern California in the early 1980s where he soon started an EB welding business. Today, Electron Beam Engineering, Inc. employs 15 people in Anaheim, California and is run by his family.

It was Pat and Richard’s move to California, where I was working in aerospace, which reunited us, thanks to the Old Persean database: we have been close friends ever since. Richard was proud to be an engineer and was a widely acknowledged expert in electron beam welding. He told me that he had visited The Perse in recent years and was delighted to talk with some of the students about his entrepreneurial experiences. In addition, he was a philanthropist with a close interest in the support of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, stimulated by his special needs daughter, Frances. He was also an active leader in the local Episcopal Church. Above all, Richard was devoted to his family. He is survived by his wife Pat, children Mark, Grant, Hilary and Frances, and by seven grandchildren. He died of cancer on 6 December 2016.

Obituary published in the Spring/Summer 2017 edition of the OP News magazine

William 'John' Kesteven (1960)

William ‘John’ Kesteven passed away on 25 October 2016.

Pamela Kesteven writes:

John was born in Barnsley, but moved south, first to Middlesex, then, to Cambridge. He began life at The Perse in the prep school, boarding initially and with a rather inauspicious start, as he absconded back home his first day! He was promptly returned by his father!

John grew to love being at The Perse, staying until the end of his Sixth Form years. In particular, he excelled at sport; he captained the school hockey team for 2 years, played rugby for Cambridgeshire Schools and hockey and cricket for Suffolk Schools. He had an England schoolboys’ hockey trial, and played hockey for the Cambridgeshire adult side whilst still at school. Later he played for Surrey, Warwickshire, where he captained the side, and lastly for Berkshire. He was told that had he stayed in Surrey, he would almost certainly have gone to the Tokyo Olympics as part of the GB Hockey Team. Dutch newspapers described said of John (when he was over there for a tournament) as ‘”John Kesteven was the best hockey player never to have played for his country’. Sadly, John’s sporting days came to a sudden halt, when he underwent a major back operation. His daughter Fiona carries on the mantle, sporting her GB kit as part of age group triathlon and duathlon.

John spent most of his school life in the old school, near to the Railway Station, but had the excitement of moving to the iconic new school building in Hills Road at the end of his Sixth Form years. He retained many memories of his school life: among them from Prep School in the Boarding House with ‘cold baths’ and at weekends ‘cream breadrolls and honey rolls’.

John went to London to do a combined Degree in Maths and Science with a view to a career in teaching. He started his teaching days at Solihull School, then a trial school for Nuffield Science. He thoroughly enjoyed teaching there, and the experience proved invaluable. He then gained a post at Garth Hill School, Bracknell, Berkshire, a school wanting to introduce Nuffield Science.

John rose to be Deputy Head of what proved to be one of the largest comprehensives in the country. To fit in better with his Deputy Head duties, John switched to the teaching of Maths, and relished this. When he died, Pam, his wife, received so many cards and letters from pupils past and present (as John continued to teach at home up until the week he passed away) saying what a brilliant teacher he was and how much he had helped students – ‘the best ever’.

John and Pam first met aged 14 on an exchange twinning between Newmarket and Maisons-Laffitte (France), both horse-racing towns! Later the game of tennis brought them together. They married in 1966 and had two children, David and Fiona; they now have two grandchildren.

John stayed close friends with two Perseans in particular; Ian Islip and David Greenwood. Ian sadly died of a brain tumour nearly thirty years ago, and David passed away last year. John died very suddenly of heart failure in October 2016, leaving a gap in the lives of many people, especially his family.

Obituary published in the Spring/Summer 2017 edition of the OP News magazine

Roland Wass

Roland Wass passed away on 25 November 2016.

Alastair Wass (1983) writes:

Roland was born in Balby, Doncaster in 1928 to loving parents Doris (known as Edith) and Ernest. He was an only child, and spent a happy childhood amongst a large extended family on farms in South Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.

Educated at Donaster Grammar School during the war, Roland gained a Manchester University scholarship to read Chemical Engineering in 1946. He always spoke with enthusiasm and great affection of his school years. He derived continued pleasure from the Old Danensians Club where he forged many lifelong friendships. He recounted his pride when elected their President in 1973–74.

After 3 years at Manchester University, he undertook National Service in the Royal Navy. Thereafter, he embarked on a successful career as a chemical engineer with Honeywell and British Titan. Whilst working in Derby he met Mary, an occupational therapist. They married in 1959 in Long Whatton, before moving to Teeside.

In 1970, Roland was appointed chief engineer at W R Grace Ltd, St Neots. Shortly afterwards he commenced his association with The Perse when his two sons started at the preparatory school. He transferred his affection, loyalty and enthusiasm for his old school to The Perse. Ever-present on the touchline or walking around the boundary rope, he supported the Parents’ Association and became a School governor.

Roland enjoyed six summers during the 1980s watching first XI and Pelicans cricket. He shared the frustrations of Doug Collard, Tony Billinghurst, and the boys when inclement weather interrupted play. He set about making a pair of wheeled covers for the school cricket square in his work-shop before assembling them on the lawn at home in Barton. Inspired by his initial success, when the old wooden sight-screens were destroyed, he designed and constructed replacements. They remain in use to this day.

Roland retired in 1990 to care for Mary, with selfless devotion. They celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary shortly before her death in 2009.

An enthusiastic, capable gardener and keen sea angler, his lifelong passions were for Manchester United FC and England Cricket. A fan of Test match cricket, Roland tolerated the limited overs game especially the 20/20 format out of necessity rather than with approval.

Described by those who knew him as a kind, cheerful character whose cup of life was never half empty, he remained independent, proud and generous to the end. He faced a short battle with pancreatic cancer with dignity and bravery. He leaves Alastair and Chris, his two sons, and Matthew, his only grandson.

Obituary published in the Spring/Summer 2017 edition of the OP News magazine

Peter Biggs (1947)

Peter Biggs (1947) passed away on 7 June 2016.


Laurence Drake (1981) writes:

Peter passed away, from cancer, at 86 on 7 June 2016, peacefully at his home, Histon Manor, with his four daughters, grandchildren and his wonderful wife, Valerie present.

At The Perse, he distinguished himself in the rugger 1st XV and he obviously much enjoyed his time at the school. After leaving, he took up the entrepreneurial baton with his OP brother, Mike, in the family flower business, Biggs and Sons. He founded what became Scotsdale’s Garden Centre (a new concept), and then Ansell’s Garden Centre at Horningsea.

He loved history, in particular WWII. His own contribution to the latter was to survive in one of the very few houses in Cambridge to be bombed, whilst the house partly collapsed around him. The Perse was also bombed, and the headmaster’s private house, and then the headmaster’s next house . – the HM (‘Gob’) wasn’t actually all that popular, and Peter and his friends reckoned there must have been an Old Persean in the Luftwaffe. Peter remained a loyal supporter and sponsor of the school, hardly missing an OP dinner.

He was rather proud of his parachute training after National Service in the Lifeguards, and also of having taken part in the annual Cambridge Town vs Gown riots after which I believe he may have ended up in front of the magistrate following an incident with a thunderflash!

In 1950 he bought his first car, an MG TC, which he campaigned all the way to Trieste.

He amassed an important collection of rare cars. His first pre-war car, bought at 35, was a magnificent 1935 Lagonda 4.5L and in 1989 Peter piloted the car down to the Cannes Film Festival. In 1994 we drove it on the Eurotunnel Inauguration Rally, from Hyde Park to Paris  in company with 99 other cars from Britain and France spanning every year from 1894 to 1994.

He was responsible for the restoration of one of the two famous 1939 Lagonda V12 Le Mans racing cars. He also owned the 1954 Lagonda 3-litre convertible built for the Duke of Edinburgh. Peter once reintroduced the car to His Royal Highness, and it has just been sold amidst considerable hype, being the only Royal car owned by a mere plebian.

Valerie described Peter as a great father and husband. Twenty years ago they took over the magnificent but somewhat run-down grade II listed Histon Manor (itself having Perse connections as none other than the headmaster Dr W Rouse lived there) and they worked tirelessly in restoring the house and splendid gardens to the beauty they are today.

Despite the crippling cruelties of severe rheumatoid arthritis, he never rested  he was always busy on projects, and the energy and determination he devoted to them and his family was inspirational and a true example to us all: keep battling on. Very well done indeed, Peter – you achieved so much.

Obituary published in the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of the OP News magazine

John Woolford (1939)

John Woolford (1939) passed away on 9 August 2016.

Adapted from The Times and The Daily Telegraph

John Woolford was born Wulff Scherchen on 30 May 1920, son of German actress Gustel, and conductor Hermann Scherchen . He came to The Perse in 1934 after moving to Cambridge with his mother to escape the SS.

Whilst at the School, Scherchen received a letter from Benjamin Britten, whom he had met at a music festival in Florence the previous year, inviting him to visit his windmill in Suffolk. A correspondence between the two grew, punctuated by occasional meetings. Wulff even spent Christmas 1938 with Britten, writing afterwards ‘Dearest, thank you for everything & especially for last night’.

Wulff learned in spring 1939 that Britten was leaving for the US with Peter Pears, when he found himself at one of the composer’s farewell parties. ‘It came as a bombshell’, he recalled. ‘At the party I was in tears’.

He was offered a place to study Engineering at Queen Mary College, London, but in May 1940 he was arrested, interned as an enemy alien and shipped to Canada, from where he wrote to Britten in America of ‘a craving to see you again’. Britten continued to write to him from the US, confessing to being ‘Wulffsick’. To the annoyance of Pears he kept a photo of Wulff. He also composed Young Apollo, based on Keats’s unfinished poem ‘Hyperion’, explaining in a letter to Wulff: ‘I am playing my Young Apollo … you know whom that’s written about’. Soon afterwards he dedicated ‘Antique’, one of the poems by Rimbaud he set in Les Illuminations, to ‘KHWS’, Wulff’s initials; its opening refers to the ‘graceful son of Pan’.

Wulff was released in December 1940, and he returned to Britain to enlist with the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps. He briefly met Britten again in 1942, but by then Scherchen had been hardened by the military and was described by Britten as being ‘completely unbearable’. He also withdrew Young Apollo, which would not be heard again until 1979.

Wulff met Pauline Woolford soon after, and they were married in 1943. In an attempt to sound less German, he took her surname and chose John as a new Christian name.

After the war ended Woolford, as he now was, worked with British Forces Network Radio, the National Coal Board, and the Overseas Trade Board. He retired in 1980 and emigrated to Australia with Pauline soon after.

Pauline died in January after more than 72 years of marriage. John died on 9 August 2016, aged 96. They leave behind a daughter and three sons.

Obituary published in the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of the OP News magazine

David Loades (1953)

David Loades (1953) passed away on 21 April 2016.

Professor David Loades

Judith Loades writes:

David was born and brought up in Cambridge and was lucky enough to attend the Perse School. He was very involved in School life, taking part in plays and competing in the School’s athletics team. He stayed on for a third year in Sixth Form and, after National Service, went to Emmanuel College, Cambridge to read History.

Disaster struck during his second year as an undergraduate when David’s father passed away unexpectedly. There was not enough money to support David’s studies, but Emmanuel stepped in and supported him until his graduation. David continued his involvement with athletics during his degree and competed against Oxford, making him a member of the Achilles Club. After graduating, David was keen to pursue post-graduate work under Sir Geoffrey Elton, who remained his friend and mentor until Sir Geoffrey’s death in 1991.

David’s PhD was based on the Wyatt Rebellion, and saw him awarded the Prince Albert Prize and the Seeley Medal. He took his first academic post at St Andrews, where he taught Political Theory and History. He then moved to Durham, where he remained for 18 years. It was at Durham that he published Two Tudor Conspiracies and The Oxford Martyrs, his first book on Mary Tudor. Academia was not the sole aspect of David’s life in Durham – he was also a supporter of the Anglican Chaplaincy and its work with students.

After Durham, David moved to the University of Wales, Bangor as Professor and Head of Department in History, Welsh History, and Archaeology. He continued his work on the Tudor court, and started Tudor workshops for postgraduate students. Bangor is by the sea, and this location inspired David to start researching a specialist subject: the Tudor Navy. After we married, in 1987, he published this work and was successful in obtaining a visiting Fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford.

David’s research into the Tudor Navy put him in touch with the Navy Records Society, which he served for many years, including ten as Chairman of the Publications Committee. It also led to an invitation to become part of the group investigating a Tudor wreck found off the coast of Alderney in the Channel Islands.

David followed his father’s example and became involved in the Scout movement. He became County Commissioner for Gwynedd and then Chief Commissioner for Wales. David worked with Welsh Scouting as long as he was able to travel, and stopped in 2011.

We moved to Burford, near Oxford, in 1997 allowing David to work on a definitive edition of John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments known as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. He was also able to join graduate seminars, and was approached to edit volumes and write a series of books aimed at the general public.

David passed away on 21 April 2016. He will have no grave and no plaque. But many of his books will remain on library shelves and be cited in the works of others. He taught and influenced many, and they in turn have taught and are influencing others. This will be his legacy.

Obituary published in the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of the OP News magazine

Richard Dent (1950)

Richard Dent (1950) passed away on 17 April 2016.


Born on 16 February 1932, Richard almost didn’t make it to The Perse. When war broke out in 1939, his parents decided to send him to the USA to avoid a possible German invasion. It was only at the last minute that his parents reneged on their decision and kept him at home. This was exceptionally lucky, as the ship he would have sailed on was torpedoed in the Atlantic and sunk.

Richard passed his 11+ exam and started at The Perse in September 1943, the only boy to come up from Milton Road Junior School in that year. Despite being nervous, he excelled at the School, winning both French and Junior PT prizes in his first year. These were fond memories for Richard, who recalled receiving two books, emblazoned with The Perse crest, as his prize on the stage at Speech Day.

He was a keen sportsman, and took up rugby at The Perse, after having played football for Cambridge Rovers. He captained the under 14 team, and always remembered a game against King’s College School’s under 14s that was stopped half way through because several of their team had to go to choir practice! He played hooker for the 1st XV during his final two years at the School (194950), leading to his mother asking ‘Richard, why are you always at the bottom of the pile of bodies?’ As well as rugby, he also excelled at cricket, and played for the School’s 1st XI at the tender age of 14, becoming their Captain during Sixth form.

After completing National Service in 1952, he went up to Downing College, Cambridge, to read Law. He was well-liked, and was elected President of the Junior Common Room. As a newly qualified solicitor, he moved to Bristol with his first wife , who later passed away, and opened his own practice – Richard Dent Solicitors.

Alongside his legal work, Richard was a Lay Preacher, eventually becoming ordained as a non-stipendiary minister. His first full time post was at Highworth in Swindon in 1985, when he also married Ann. He worked in a number of other parishes until his retirement in 1997.

Throughout his life, Richard was a keen advocate of human rights, and helped to set up a drug rehabilitation hostel in Bristol in the late ‘70s, only dropping out when the hostel was taken over by the City Council Social Services. He helped start a Bristol group of supporters of Actions by Christians Against Torture (ACAT UK), and later became Chairman of the National ACAT. Within this organisation, he was able to write countless appeals for prisoners who were experiencing ill treatment and supported them in prayer. He was held in high regard by many as a person who could easily understand a topic and was able to discuss it with deep sincerity and humility.

Richard passed away at home on Sunday, 17 April 2016 after a short illness.

Obituary published in the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of the OP News magazine

David Sheppard (1953)

David Sheppard (1953) passed away on 3 November 2013.


Mike Sheppard writes:

David Samuel Sheppard, like his brother, John (obituary OP Spring 2012) won a scholarship to The Perse from Papworth Everard Village School. His elder sister Mary, who died on 3 July 2013, attended the Perse School for Girls. He entered The Perse School in 1948 and, having not particularly enjoyed his time, left with his O-levels in 1953, subsequently taking up a five year apprenticeship with Pye of Cambridge, where he developed his practical skills in carpentry and craftsmanship, encouraged by his father, himself an apprenticed carpenter and Building Manager at Papworth Hospital. During his teenage years, David helped backstage with amateur theatrical productions where he developed his lifelong liking for Gilbert and Sullivan.

At the end of his apprenticeship came the call up for National Service. Rather than being a National Serviceman, David took up a Regular three-year engagement in the Royal Air Force. He was offered the choice of cook or RAF Police and spent the next 22 years as a member of the RAF Police, serving in far flung postings in Malta, Singapore, Penang (Malaysia), Gan (Maldive Islands) and closer to home in RAF stations at Wyton, Waddington, High Wycombe, Henlow, Marham, Brize Norton and in Germany at HQ BAOR in Rheindahlen . He also managed a short time in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, where, because he was not Army, he was welcomed by both sides.

He joined the RAF Mountaineering Club and the RAF Sailing Club, climbing Mount Etna (twice) and in the Lake District. He took up sailing in Firefly dinghies in waters varying from the River Ouse to RAF Gan. He was the RAF Firefly Champion one year and through sailing, he met his wife, Pat, on the Isle of Wight. On retiring from the RAF, he started a second career working as a civilian duty officer for Thames Valley Police, whilst using his practical skill to build an extension to the family home. Following his second retirement from Thames Valley, David and Pat moved to the Isle of Wight and a second substantial extension to another family home was built. As a keen caravanner, David travelled with his family around most of Western Europe. In later years he and Pat enjoyed many cruises in various parts of the world. On the Isle of Wight, they owned a caravan and sailed a Squib dinghy moored at the Royal Victorian Yacht Club where he was a prime mover in work parties until his death in December 2013.

David will be remembered for being a modest, kind and caring man with a dry sense of humour. His willingness to help others, his patience and his love will all be missed by his wife, two children, two grandchildren and many others.

After this obituary was written, David’s widow Pat passed away in November 2014.

Obituary published in the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of the OP News magazine

Barry Robinson (1961)

Barry Robinson (1961) passed away on 5 July 2016.


Gemma Brennan writes:

Barry was born in Cambridge in 1943, and followed his grandfather and father in being educated at the Perse School. His childhood ambition was to be an architect but, although he won a place to read architecture at Cambridge University, his real desire was to buy back and expand the family music business which had been established in Cambridge in 1856 but recently sold outside the family.

In 1974 Barry bought Millers Music Centre back into the family, and during the 38 years in which he was Managing Director it became a vibrant, successful and nationally respected business. His dedication and passion for business led him to grow the original shop into an enterprise which encompassed many branches across the local area, sold a variety of entertainment products such as records and TVs, and continued the family tradition of selling pianos. He was also able to buy the renowned Cambridge music shop, Ken Stevens, and incorporate it into Millers Music Centre.

Barry was a well-known, active and popular member of the Cambridge community. He prided himself on his commitment to improving the city he loved for those who lived, worked and did business there, and he was a prominent commentator and advocate for Cambridge business matters. He was involved in the foundation of several business support organisations including the Cambridge Retail and Commercial Association.

In 2012 Barry sold Millers Music Centre but remained as a Director and advisor to the new owner up until his death following a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

During his life, both at work and home, he was highly respected as a loyal and caring boss, colleague, friend and family member, and he was well known for being a fair man with great generosity. Never one to say no to anything, he truly lived life to the full. He was an inspirational man, enjoying every moment as much as he possibly could, and taking great happiness in all aspects of his life.

He is greatly missed by his wife, Julie, daughters Gemma and Katie, and four grandchildren (two of whom continue the great family tradition of being educated at the Perse), as well as his many friends and colleagues who had the privilege to spend time with him throughout his life. He always said he was lucky in life, but it is those who knew him who were the lucky ones.

Obituary published in the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of the OP News magazine

Barry Wallman

Barry Wallman passed away on 25 May 2016.


Barry Wallman was a well-known figure at The Perse, supporting generations of Perse students in athletics and Scouting.

Barry had been involved in athletics from a young age, and represented Cambridgeshire and the Eastern Counties both on the track and in cross country events. He then took on a variety of administrative positions for his County, the East and the South, before becoming Secretary of the English Cross Country Union (now the English Cross Country Association). He was also involved with the London Marathon from 1982 to 2003, initially as an official and later on became the Start Co-ordinator.

Outside of athletics, Barry was a District Commissioner for Cambridge South, and supported The Perse 5th Cambridge Scout Troop. When he gave up his District Commissioner role he got involved with the Perse Scout Group and helped out with the Troop as well as the Venture Scouts, and assisted with the planning of many expeditions.

He retained his link with the Perse until his death, returning for a number of events including the unveiling of the Scout bench in 2014. Along with his wife Pat, he was also a regular attendee at the West Road concerts.

Barry passed away suddenly on 25 May 2016. He will be remembered as a good-natured man, easy to get along with, and always willing to lend a hand.

Obituary published in the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of the OP News magazine

Bryan Peck (1954)

Bryan Peck (1954) passed away on 12 December 2014.


Robin Harvie-Smith (1950) writes:

It was the morning of 23 February 1944, very early, when my ‘Scout’ Bryan Peck called me to say a German bomber had landed at the bottom of our gardens. We were both living off Milton Road north of Cambridge and took a keen interest in the progress of the war. The town had suffered several raids aimed at the marshalling yards surrounding the main Cambridge station and we were witness to their very low-flying attacks, comparing notes as to just how low they came.

My ‘Scout’ keeping watch, the bomber was entered and a selection of ‘souvenirs’ for the neighbours were removed. We were just about to take the heavy machine gun with its belt of ammunition when the cry went up ‘the Police are arriving’ and we quickly decamped.

Bryan was attending a local Parish School, St Andrews, in the village of Old Chesterton on the edge of Cambridge. He was very bright and gained a Scholarship to The Perse. He found the move very challenging – with only basic Maths and no Classics, for the first two years or so he had to play catch up. But his quiet determination and easy personality carried him forward, so much so that he gained a place at Oriel College, Oxford. There he quickly found his feet – the inclusive style of the College and its caring attitude suited Bryan.

He was very happy there and we often compared notes. I was at Corpus Christi, Cambridge at the time and knew that Oriel was a very grand place.

Bryan’s first academic post on graduation was with a private school in Surrey where he gained experience of basic teaching and being ‘on his feet’. Soon an opportunity arose at Trinity College, Dublin, an Assistant Lectureship; he accepted the opportunity with alacrity. Trinity and Dublin took to Bryan. Not the easiest place for an Englishman, but his bright, unassuming and approachable manner was well received both by Trinity and Dubliners. He spent several years there, until a major Lectureship became vacant at Glasgow University, which he was awarded. Whilst there, his wider academic interests took him and his wife Dorothy, who usually accompanied him, far and wide to seminars, conferences and lectures.

But Bryan’s life was more than a seamless academic progression. There was more to him than that. In the late ‘50s it was a kinder time for us undergraduates and we could easily find a vacation job. Waiting on tables, being taught full silver service, building sites and land drains 18’ deep – no health and safety then! Some even made it to Canada as lumberjacks for the summer. But Bryan outdid us all. The village of Madingley – more of a hamlet really – lies just outside Cambridge. It was here that the United States Air Force had an exquisite cemetery laid out for its young men lost during the war. Under Federal law, the families of US Servicemen who die overseas are entitled to have their loved ones returned to the US for more convenient local internment. This led to an extensive programme of recovery of the aircrew, often in the most dreadful state and for them to be carefully prepared by specially hired teams for collection by honour guards sent over from the Air bases for the move to their home towns.

Bryan took on that job – so challenging and requiring reverence and care for the task in hand. I know of no other undergraduate to take that on. In this, Bryan showed the true metal of the man.

He leaves a daughter, Sophie, and a son, Julian. His loving wife Dorothy died shortly before him. He was a great credit to the Perse and Oriel, a very nice person and a lovely friend.

Obituary published in the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of the OP News magazine

Roger Potton (1971)

Roger Potton (1971) passed away on 15 February 2016.

Roger Potton

David Utting (1971) writes:

Roger Potton, who died suddenly in February aged 63, had a remarkable gift for making friends, not least among those who first met him at The Perse. By the time he left the senior school, his hallmark commitment to helping others, matching kindness with calm advice and plain speaking, was already evident. So, too, was his talent for planning enjoyable adventures. Through Scouts and the Navy section of the Combined Cadet Force, he acquired a love of Norfolk, camping and boats that stayed with him throughout his life. While still at school, he organised sailing trips to the Channel Islands, and a memorable excursion to the Scillies. During a ‘gap’ year, he combined work as a breakfast chef at the University Arms Hotel with a road-trip to Istanbul and driving for the Eastern Counties bus company.

At Surrey University, he studied Hotel and Catering Administration, leading to employment with Charringtons, the brewing company. Here he met his future wife, Alison. His response to major changes in the licensed trade during the late 1980s was home study, taking two vocational degrees and becoming a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Family life came first for Roger and Alison with their four children Jonathan, Simon, Ruth and David. After moving from work with Punch Taverns into self-employed consultancy in 2010 he maintained a range of interests. Ownership of one boat was never enough, while his vehicle collection included the original Range Rover taken to Turkey in 1972.  A happy knack for mixing business with pleasure was nowhere more evident than the company he created to hire out vintage taxis and Routemaster buses for special occasions. Old Perseans, including his younger brother Keith, were among the occasional drivers, but often Roger drove himself.  A church celebration of his life in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, where he and Alison made their home, was packed to capacity with those who knew and admired him.

Obituary published in the Spring/Summer 2016 edition of OP magazine

Raymond Govette Harris (1946)

Raymond Govette Harris (1946) passed away on 13 November 2015.

Raymond Harris

Rosemary Harris writes:

Born 3 June 1928 into a family of Exclusive Plymouth Brethren, and brought up at the back of his father’s fish shop in Mill Road, Cambridge, Raymond was a dutiful worshipper with his large extended family. However, it was at the early age of six that he realised his eternal inspiration was not there, but in the buildings, music and Anglican worship of the Cambridge Colleges.

Towards the end of his primary school education, he spent a year in and out of hospital following septicaemia from a grazed knee, thus missing the 11-plus examination and finding himself in a ‘sink school’. Observing his misery there, his mother went to The Perse, importuning the headmaster to allow him to take the entrance exam, as the result of which he won a scholarship.

From this moment, Raymond shone in many directions; consistently top of the class in most subjects (with one rival), winning many prizes, notably for essays and oration, and developing his exceptional skills as an artist through an inspiring art master. It was clear that he would become an architect, and he won a scholarship to the Architectural Association in London. He had many close friends at the AA, even becoming AA Social Secretary.

After leaving the AA as an architect, he did two years’ National Service in the Pioneer Corps: being drafted to the Welsh borders enabled him to visit Cathedrals in the West, marking up nearly the entire number of them in the UK.

It was after this that he got a job with old-established commercial architects TP Bennett and Son, rising rapidly in responsibility and pay. Through one of his AA friends he joined a chamber choir giving outlet to his splendid voice, natural harmony and love of music.

It was at an architects’ party that he met Rosemary, following her to Italy, where she was on a three-week summer holiday. Raymond became the Senior Partner of TPB and their house was professionally renovated to make a large home with space for family plus a troupe of business and music students.

Eventually, retirement loomed and grandchildren appeared. Weekends and holidays were spent making oak furniture for the house and structures for the garden in the cottage outhouse.

He found time amongst all this workshop activity to worship, to join the church and festival choirs, take part in Festival activities as actor, singer and venue provider and make many friends while still in London, weekly, as Consultant to his firm, until 1991.  Only into the new millennium when his body began to fail him (never ill!) did his focus shift to his eleven  growing grandchildren of whom he was immensely proud, and whose lives he shared intimately.

Obituary published in the Spring/Summer 2016 edition of OP magazine

John Walford (Wally) Huckle (1958)

Wally Huckle (1958) passed away on 22 September 2015.

Wally Huckle

Adrienne May (1958) writes:

Wally Huckle was a powerful and outgoing sports oriented pupil at the Perse. He loved school where he seemed friends with everybody and even as a junior would intercede if he saw bullying. Whether it was football or fives in the playground, hitting a piece of wood with a cricket stump or playing for the school team, sport was a passion. In rugby Wally played for the Colts and First fifteen as prop forward. He played hockey in goal for the Colts and later for the First Eleven. In cricket he was an ebullient wicket keeper for the first eleven, battered cap over one eye, catching with a flourish and a joke.

In the CCF he played kettledrum but was a great fan of all music, pop, trad jazz, moving on to more modern styles and classical music. As a second former he kept a chart of songs heard on radio, this before a hit parade chart was published.

On leaving school he first worked for J P Coates in Glasgow as a management trainee but left to join the Unilever training scheme in 1960. In 1962 he joined the Samworth family working for T. N. Parr & Co and Pork Farms, becoming Wholesale Sales Director and then Managing Director with a seat on the main group board.

For most of that time he continued his sport playing hockey and cricket until his knees gave out, playing 52 Times for Nottinghamshire but also for various other teams including the Ladykillers, a hockey version of the Barbarians. It was through hockey that he met his wife and lifelong friend Jan, a keen sportswoman and successful player in her own right. When playing finished Wally became a hockey umpire.

A lifelong passion was railways from engine spotting while at school to travelling the continent in later years.

It was in 1984 that he became a convinced Christian, having been confirmed while at the Perse. His faith was such that he resigned from Pork Farms in 1987 to train for the Ministry, age 48. He was ordained as a Church of England priest in 1989 and worked in the newly created post of Commercial Chaplain for the City of Nottingham. As he was shown his duties by Revd. Canon Leslie Morley he was introduced to various inhabitants, but it seemed Wally already knew nearly everyone, described as Wally’s mafia. He had an easy touch, able to talk to anyone on nearly any subject, bringing some of the most unlikely recruits into the church. He resigned in 2000 due to ill health.

He was sharing a flat with a colleague in Nottingham when he announced to his friend, ‘You’ll have to get out, I’m getting married.’ His bride was Jan and together they made a great team, spending forty-four years together. Their son Mike was born in 1974 and daughter Lizzie in 1977. Mike tells of playing cricket in the back garden and being bowled an off spinner by his dad, Mike slogged the ball straight through the garage window. Mike expected a roasting but found his father, arms in the air, shouting ‘Six.’

He is survived by Jan, his son and daughter and two grandchildren.

Obituary published in the Spring/Summer 2016 edition of OP magazine

Bryan Layton (1954)

Bryan Layton (1954) passed away on 4 December 2015.

Bryan Layton

David Layton (1986) writes:

Bryan Layton passed away on the 4th December 2015.  He is survived by wife Gill and sons Peter and David (both also Old Perseans).

Many will have known Bryan as proprietor of AE Clothier in Cambridge city centre.

Bryan started working in AE Clothier in the 1950’s when he was 17– trading first in Kings Parade and more latterly in Pembroke Street. The shop was outfitter to many Cambridge University students and clubs.

For the majority of this time he has had an association as outfitter to the University, including making blazers for the crews in the Boat Race since 1967 and he was involved in the preparations for the 2016 race which would have been the 50th year of support.

Bryan was also a driving force at the Cambridge ’99 Rowing Club (where he was able to offer support in setting up the Perse Rowing Crews), a member of Leander Club in Henley and a member of the Company and Watermen of the River Thames.

Bryan’s health had recently started to suffer, and he made the hard decision to close the shop in Pembroke Street at the end of the December. The Business however has moved on line at and continues to be run by Gill.

Bryan will be remembered by many not only as an outfitter but also as a friend to all those who frequented Cambridge city centre.

Obituary published in the Spring/Summer 2016 edition of OP magazine

Fernando de la Torre (1946)

Fernando de la Torre (1946) passed away on 27 May 2015.

Fernando de la Torre

Gillian de la Torre writes:
Fernando was born in Madrid, but was always proud of his Basque ancestry and loved the green mountains of the North of Spain where his family held lands around the picturesque village of Valmaseda. His family had always been Liberal Socialists, paying their workers when they were sick, which was unheard of in those days  and this family mindset was to have the greatest possible impact on Fernando’s future life.
His happy childhood was cut short when he was 10 years old, by the onset of the Spanish Civil War. His Father was a member of the new, democratically elected, Republican Government, who had decreed Liberal measures such as ‘votes for women’, ‘education for all children’ and ‘significant land reform’, giving the land to those who had worked on it for generations. This latter action was not popular with other landowners.
When, in 1936, the army, under General Franco, staged a coup against the Government, aided by forces of Hitler and Mussolini, the Republicans fought to save their Democracy and Liberty, with untrained men and donated weapons … Fernando and his parents moved, with the Government, to Albacete, Madrid and a last stand in Barcelona, from which city they, and thousands more, fled to France over the Pyrenees with only what they could carry.
Through his Mother’s charitable contacts the family was invited to stay unseen and unknown in the home of a Cambridge University Professor and his wife. This letter of Invitation remained one of Fernando’s most treasured and honoured possessions.
The now thirteen-year-old Fernando began his new life of schooling and learning English at a small village school, before gaining a place at The Perse. Letters from his old school friends speak of the impact this young ‘foreigner’, with his strong awareness of politics and sense of justice, had on them. One, even after 75 years, recalls with resignation how he was replaced as the school’s Athletics Champion by this Spaniard who could run and hurdle faster and jump further than he ever could … to this eighty-eight-year-old gentleman’s remembered chagrin! Fernando’s love of and prowess in sport continued at St John’s, Cambridge, which he represented in Athletics, Rugby teams and his much loved Rowing. Sport remained a useful theme when he began to travel, as he became a Reporter for the BBC Overseas Service and a journalist for Reuters in South America. He reported on world motorsports events, interviewing such drivers as Stirling Moss and Fangio, and he commentated on the London Olympics rowing in 1948, broadcasting to Spanish speaking countries.

Coming back to England, his work as a translator brought him to Sheffield and then to the offer of a position as Export Sales Manager for a steel firm, which enabled him to continue travelling in his much loved South America. In Sheffield, he met Gillian, in whose eyes he was the most handsome man she had ever seen. Their mutual love of walking the hills of the Peak District (he, always, with a frying pan, onion and piece of steak in his rucksack) and his ability to create a fire under all circumstances and cook steaks, made their marriage, which lasted for the next 50 years, inevitable.

Fernando was a challenging father to his three lovely daughters. Always encouraging them to ‘Aim High’, always very proud of his daughters’ achievements, on many occasions he showed this in a way that caused said daughters untold embarrassment. Whilst receiving her Masters degree, Jo stood up to receive her certificate. Applause ensued, as it had for the previous recipients, but as Jo sat down, someone was standing and still clapping … and continued to clap. Heads turned, as did Jo’s, to see Papa with that proud smile on his face that we all know! ‘What?’ he exclaimed loudly. ‘She’s my daughter!’ And so ensued an even louder and longer round of applause, the loudest and longest of the day, even accompanied by cheers, as Jo tried to defy the laws of physics and sink through her chair to absolutely anywhere.

Elena remembers her Papa as being extremely vociferous on the sidelines. Before swimming races she could hear ‘breathe, breathe, breathe’ being yelled, accompanied by his windmilling arms, to encourage prerace warm up. Once, the car windscreen shattered on the way to a triathlon, but Fernando was undeterred. He merely piled coats and blankets· on to Elena to keep her warm and got her there on time. He had been in charge of her pistol shooting training in the living room at home, with a typewriter mat for a target, propped on piled up side tables. Gillian was not too happy with the stray pellet holes that marked the tables from that day on. Alicia remembers most his extraordinary generosity and especially their father/daughter shopping trips. He loved to take her shopping in Edinburgh, in London (and even to Meadowhall!!) and would say ‘if you like it buy it’, taking great pleasure in the happy times spent together. He always wanted to help in any way he could. He would turn her pony out on a frosty morning, he was a great animal lover and they always went to him and Alicia learnt how to treat animals through him.

Fernando was a Family Man through and through and has also enjoyed participating in the achievements of his grandchildren. In the past few weeks he has cheered Fallan on in her Saturday morning 5km. Park Run; he has clapped Morgan’s dancing at the Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury; he has played football in the park with five-year-old Callum and rejoiced proudly in Lachlan’s taking his first steps before his first birthday!

In the last few years Fernando has taken up a new sport in Croquet  and proved quite a danger near a hoop  and has appreciated making a new set of friends. Although a resident of England for 75 years, Fernando never took British citizenship and never forgot the trauma and violence that ensued as his beloved Spanish Republic was crushed. In 1982, Fernando learned, from a BBC News item, that Spanish Republicans were used as slave workers by the Germans to excavate an Underground Hospital from the granite rock of Jersey. These men, most of whom lost their lives in these War Tunnels, were remembered and honoured each year at a ceremony on the 9th of May in Jersey. Fernando has taken it upon himself to attend this ceremony for each of the 33 years since … always wearing his Basque boina, or beret, and always carrying his Republican flag, to lay a wreath of red, yellow and purple flowers ….the colours of the flag of the Spanish Republic, that now lies upon his coffin. Loving, kind, generous, emotional and immensely loyal … we shall miss him.

Obituary published in the Winter 2015 edition of OP magazine

Father Damien Walne (1957)

Father Damien Walne (1957) passed away on 7 March 2015.

Victor Walne (1961) writes:
Father Damien Walne died on 7 March 2015 after a brief illness. He entered the Senior School from the Prep in 1951, having made himself useful both as a footballer and cricketer. He was a victim of an outbreak of Poliomyelitis but fully recovered, adding hockey and tennis to his sporting accomplishments. Leaving the School in 1957, he worked in banking and insurance until, responding to the seeds of a vocation already sown in the fertile soil of Irish Catholicism – he was born in county Down in 1840 – he entered the major Seminary of Oscott College and was ordained in St. Lawrence’s Church in Cambridge in 1970. Having first served as a curate in High Wycombe, Corby and Bedford, he was appointed Parish Priest of the twin Parishes of Great Billing and East Barton, Northamptonshire in 1991. In 1999 he became Diocesan Director of Pilgrimages to Lourdes and in 2006 Rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour as well as Rural Dean.

His Requiem Mass, conducted by the Bishop of Northampton, was concelebrated by 50 priests of the Diocese before a congregation of more than 700 in Northampton Cathedral. Bishop Peter Doyle preached the Homily and Victor Walne (1961) gave the Address. Father Damien is laid to rest in the Old Churchyard of Great Billing.

Obituary published in the Winter 2015 edition of OP magazine

Michael Sadler-Forster (1952)

Michael Sadler-Forster (1952) passed away on 5 May 2015.

Michael Sadler-Forster

Michael was born in Redcar in 1933 to Samuel Sadler-Forster and Kathleen Bulmer.
For the first few years of Michael’s life the family lived in Middlesbrough, in 1936, they moved to Welwyn Garden City. When war broke out in 1939 Michael was evacuated to Hawes in Yorkshire. The family moved to Cambridge in 1943 where Michael attended The Perse School. He greatly enjoyed his time at The Perse and, as the great raconteur that he was, had many stories particularly relating to his great passions sport, acting and art.

He spent his National Service as a submariner on HMS Artful and then went
to Cambridge University where he read English literature. School and university life were dominated by sport – he played rugby for the University, continuing after he left, until he had to ‘retire’ to hockey in his 30’s – ending as Captain of the Hampstead veterans.

Michael had a varied and interesting career in the design world. His first job was in public relations with Cockade in London. From there he moved to Bovis – first based in London and then, later, in Darlington.
In 1969 he moved back to London to work for the Design Research Unit (DRU) as Managing Director to strengthen their business operations. The DRU formed in the operated as one of the most prolific British design consultancies – with a mix of architects. graphic and industrial designers.
Michael’s role was to bring a business sensibility to the company, and by the time he left it had doubled in size.
He left in 1975 to become a partner in the Sir Basil Spence architectural practice.
In the 1980s he joined the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers, which became the Chartered Society of Designers under his leadership.

In 1988 he changed direction and became Principal of Winchester School of Art. He again took the opportunity to use his business acumen within a creative environment. He argued successfully for government funding and developed the Art schools’ links with Europe, setting up a postgraduate centre in Barcelona. His passion and understanding of architecture resulted in a rebuilding of much of the Art school with some award winning new buildings. Through his enthusiasm and hard work, Winchester’s reputation developed from being ‘a good art school in an English cathedral city’ to one of the best in Europe. When Winchester School of Art became part of Southampton University Michael was made Assistant Vice Chancellor of the University.
Michael he had many passions including painting, sport and traveling, he loved nothing better than great food, wine and company.
He leaves behind his wife, Ann, and their two children, Jake and Jana, and his three children from his first marriage – Madeleine, Beanie and Sam, as well as five grand-children.

Obituary published in the Winter 2015 edition of OP magazine

Leslie Brian Lux (1948)

Brian Lux (1948) passed away on 19 June 2015

Leslie Lux

Peregrine Lux writes:
Brian packed a lot into his life he was never one to sit back and take things easy
He was of course a very accomplished dentist, qualifying at Guys, highly regarded by fellow professionals and officially honoured on both sides of the Atlantic.

He was always at the forefront of dental practice, and was one of the pioneers of preventative dentistry in this country born out of shock from when he first started general practising in Bradford and it was common for a full extraction and full set of dentures to be a wedding present! At that point he regretted turning down a permanent commission in the RAF having completed his National Service.

He was also constantly fighting for the benefit of the profession as a whole through his writing, as President of the General Dental Practitioners Association and as an elected member of the General Dental Council. Amolak Singh, a fellow dentist and council member, summed up many of his fellow professionals when he wrote that “The whole Dental Profession has lost a formidable colleague who devoted his life to improve the working practices of General Dental Practitioners”.

He had many other interests. He had a love of boxing, perhaps a little strange for a dentist, and he became university champion at his weight. He then went on to qualify as an Amateur Boxing coach and along with Paul Dunn trained Rickie Hatton when he was an amateur at Sale Boys.

His other passion was sailing, both in his own Westerly and participating in the Clipper Round the World yacht races.

When he finally decided to retire and move to Llandudno in 2004 any expectation that he would start to take things easy at last were quickly dispelled if anything he became even busier, writing and get published novels, magazine and professional articles, involved with writing groups and The Royal Yacht Club.

And he still ran! Doing many marathons and half marathons, always for charity and only very recently hanging up his running shoes.

Everything he did was with total passion and commitment, never half hearted, it was all or nothing. He stood up for what he believed to be right across many diverse areas and ruffling feathers did not worry him.

He will be sadly missed by his wife, family and many many friends.

Obituary published in the Winter 2015 edition of OP magazine

Peter Janes (1943)

Peter Janes (1943) passed away on 7 September 2016

Peter Janes

Peter was born on 23rd August 1926 in the house of his maternal grandfather in Ditchling, East Sussex. He lived with his parents in Kingswood, Surrey for a short while before moving to Papworth Everard, Cambridgeshire.

Peter attended the Papworth Village School until 1936, followed by a year at The Perse Prep School, in Bateman Street, Cambridge where he passed his Scholarship Examinations to attend The Perse Upper School until 1942. Peter remembered his class teacher and cub mistress (Akela), Miss Beryl Boothroyd (later Mrs. Barry) at the Perse Prep and Mr. Keith Barry, Peter’s French Master, with great affection and gratitude for the high standards, kindness and guidance that he received. Peter stayed in touch with Mr. & Mrs. Barry and was able to tell them in later years of his appreciation of their dedication, example and good humour. The opportunity for this was in 1993 on the occasion of Mr. Barry’s 80th Birthday. Peter often used to quote the Prep Headmaster, Mr. Hugh Lindeman as saying, ‘The improvement of legibility in his handwriting, has revealed an inability to spell!’

The Headmaster in Peter’s time at The Perse Upper School was Mr. Hubert Arthur Wootton, who was very kind to Peter, especially when his father died. He taught Chemistry to the 6th Form, and Peter’s story was that Mr. Wootton was a very tall man with a very high bicycle and the boys would joke that he could see the Perse boys misbehaving on the top of a double decker bus when it stopped in the traffic. Peter also recalled that boys would be caned if seen without their cap in the town, or caught cycling on School premises. Peter was caned once for the cycling offence – not only was he cycling on School premises, but he was riding his bicycle backwards, through the cycle shed!

The Perse is 400 years old this year and Peter was very proud to have attended The Perse as a pupil. Until recently, he visited the school for Speech Days and other events. As a founder life member of the Old Persean Society, he attended many of the Annual Dinners. Having lost his father after a long illness in 1941 at the age of 41, Peter was grateful for the paternal guidance he found at The Perse, which helped him to understand the importance of good behaviour and self-discipline. He believed that the early teachings there guided him for life.

Peter was a Cadet in the RAF Section of the Combined Cadet Force for 15 months, taking part in parades, attending lectures and repairing RAF Airspeed Oxford Wings. His Certificate of Service shows that he was considered suitable for training in the RAF as a Pilot and a Pilot/Observer in the Fleet Air Arm. Peter’s love of aircraft stayed with him throughout his life.

In 1943 and awaiting conscription for Wartime Military Service, Peter’s conscription was deferred when he won an Engineering Cadetship for a three-and-a-half year course at Loughborough College, which included two years training in the classrooms & laboratories and one and-a-half years in practical and productive workshop activities. Practical training was also provided by the Loughborough engineering company, Brush Electrical, where he served his Apprenticeship. There were 180 Engineering Cadets at Loughborough College to start with and those who completed the course and achieved College Diplomas in 1946 went on to have very successful careers.

Fast-forward to 2011, Loughborough College, now a University, awarded Peter and ten of his fellow-Cadets (four posthumously) an Honorary Degree at a special Graduation Day ceremony. This was in recognition of the contribution they had all made as students of Loughborough College, to the successful University it is today. Many of the Engineering Cadets stayed in touch over the years and enjoyed Annual Reunions in Loughborough from 1966 until 2010. A wonderful and unique group of students, who came together in difficult times, worked hard and played hard; Peter was very proud to have had been part of it.

In 1946, after deferment and the war having ended, Peter was called-up into the Army and joined the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers regiment (REME). Peter became a Sergeant and a Lecturer with the Army Technical Training Group. He had to know about every aspect of maintaining the Standard Army issue 3-Ton Trucks and his job in the Army School (at the works of Dickinson & Adams) in Luton, was to turn out competent mechanics. One of Peter’s favourite stories was when he was about to be demobbed from the Army and the Brigadier, Brigadier Ash, called him to his office to ask why he was leaving the Army and not making it his career. His exact answer to this is unknown but some years later, when Peter was employed by Hayward Tyler, a new prospective employee arrived and Peter was asked to interview him and show him around the factory. The new prospective employee turned out to be Brigadier Ash! Peter joined Hayward-Tyler in Luton in 1946 at a Salary of £350 a year. He was Sales Estimator, Chief Estimator, Outdoor Sales Rep. and Departmental Sales Manager. He made many lifelong friends at Hayward-Tyler, one of whom was a certain Mr. George Kinder. George was the Area Sales Manager for Flexibox and sold Mechanical Seals to Peter at Hayward-Tyler.

In 1957 George and Peter founded their original Company, G.W. Kinder & Company Limited, initially based in Woking, Surrey. Over the next few years the Company had three sites in shared offices, before establishing premises in Tabernacle Street, London in 1965. The Company remained in Tabernacle Street until moving to its present location in St. Albans in 1988. In 1962, the first member of staff was recruited and that was Jenny, closely followed by Bryan Keen, Pat Barry & Mick Clark. The Company became Kinder-Janes Engineers Limited in 1972 when Jenny, Bryan and Geoff Woodcraft joined George and Peter as Board Directors, with George as Chairman and Peter as Managing Director. George retired in 1985, Bryan in 1992 and Geoff in 1998. Very sadly, George and Geoff died in 2001 & 2002 respectively.

Incidentally, Peter also sort-of-retired in 1992, but he remained as Chairman and continued to go to the office until earlier this year. The total number of employees has remained constant at around 20 people, including the Directors, and many stay with the Company for the majority of their careers. Several employees were ex-Hayward Tyler apprentices.

Over the years the Company has established itself as a major provider of specialised pumping equipment for the great manufacturers, SUNDYNE in America & France and LEWA in Germany, and, within the UK market, mainly in the Petrochemical and Onshore and Offshore Oil Industry. This expanded into other areas and diversified with the changing times.

There have been many wonderful messages of condolence, support and expressions of affection for Peter, from people who knew him at different times during his lifetime.
Remembering him as ‘Lovely’, ‘A Gentleman’, ‘Honourable, Kind & Considerate’, ‘Of the Highest Integrity’, ‘Honest & Dependable’, ‘With high Values & Standards’, ‘Friendly with a Welcoming Smile’. All of this is true in everything he did.

Peter was very supportive of his family, Jenny’s family, his colleagues and his friends. Always there with wise words of encouragement. In business a Customer said, ‘A fine Engineer- a credit to the profession’ and another said, ‘He handled problem jobs with Friendship and Good Humour.’ A colleague, when he was going to the Himalayas in Nepal, recalled that Peter said, ‘When you are on those mountains you will realise how insignificant some of our daily problems are.’ Peter loved to talk and always had many interesting stories to tell. But he also listened, he listened intently because he believed there was always something to learn.

He loved people. He was a great communicator. He loved reunions. In addition to his School and College reunions, he enjoyed the get-togethers with his sister & cousins and spending time with his famous, very strict, Auntie Nellie who lived to the age of 107. There were several company reunions with former employees and associates – for various retirements, Peter’s 80th Birthday and for the 50th Anniversary of Kinder-Janes Engineers Limited. He enjoyed travelling and travelled as much as possible both on business and for holidays. His favourite places to visit abroad were Switzerland, France, America and Canada. Peter enjoyed going to the theatre and loved musicals, light entertainment and plays. He also attended many concerts and performances at the Royal Albert Hall. Through Peter’s dedication, skilful operation and a very fine team of loyal and diligent employees, the company of Kinder-Janes Engineers Limited steadily grew into the successful, highly respected Company that it is today.

For many years, Peter had continuous health problems to overcome and coped remarkably well. He stayed optimistic throughout and was very helpful to other patients in similar circumstances, sharing his medical experiences with them.

During his final days, Peter was unable to speak, but he still communicated with his smile and his own language. Peter will always be remembered by all who knew him. He really was amazing, wise, courageous and a rock and is survived by his wife Jenny, his daughter Sue and his son Edward.

Obituary published in the Winter 2015 edition of OP magazine

Henry Stockings (1933)

Henry Stockings (1933) passed away on 10 February 2015.

Henry Stockings pic

Adapted from The Daily Telegraph:

Flight Lieutenant Henry Stockings, who has died aged 98, completed a 12-hour flight to bomb Danzig before spending four years as a PoW during which he carried out secret intelligence work.
Polish Independence Day was November 11 and the Danzig operation was laid on to encourage the Poles in their resistance to the German occupying forces. On the night of November 10 1940 Stockings and his crew took off from Waddington near Lincoln in their twin-engined Hampden bomber. The target was beyond the normal range of the pre-war aircraft and it had to be modified to carry additional fuel tanks fitted to the wings in place of the usual bomb racks. Three Hampdens were tasked for the operation.

The target was the docks and each aircraft also carried propaganda leaflets to be dropped over the city. Stockings was the only pilot to reach the Polish city; the other two having been forced to turn back. Bad visibility prevented the crew from locating the target so the bombs were dropped on German occupied buildings before Stockings descended to 500 feet to drop the leaflets between the city and the River Vistula.

The Hampden returned to base safely. Stockings had been at the controls of his aircraft for just over 12 hours, thought at the time to be the longest sortie by a twin-engined bomber. He was awarded the DFC, which was presented to him at RAF Waddington by the King. After the ceremony, the King asked Stockings to show him the cockpit of his Hampden.
Henry Rayner Stockings was born on August 22 1916 and educated at the Perse School, Cambridge. He then worked for his father, a director of a London-based corn and milling merchant.

In 1939 he joined the RAF Reserve and began his pilot training. On completion he joined No 44 Squadron at Waddington in the spring of 1940. He attacked targets in Germany and flew a number of mining operations, dropping his weapon from low level in the Kattegat and in Kiel Bay.

After his unique sortie to Danzig, he attacked shipping in the mouth of the River Elbe. On the night of December 20, he attacked Berlin, another target at extreme range. At 8,000 feet, his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire, damaging the hydraulic system and disabling the crew intercommunication system. By a skilful piece of flying, he managed to return to base.

During February 1941, the German cruiser Admiral Hipper entered Brest harbour after a foray into the Atlantic. Bomber Command immediately launched a series of raids. Five Hampdens from No 44, including Stockings’ aircraft, attacked the warship but the cruiser was able to depart a few days later.
On March 10, he took off to bomb Cologne on his 26th operation. On the return flight, his aircraft was attacked and shot down by a German night fighter. The four-man crew bailed out and Stockings landed in a tree near the Dutch town of Venlo. He was soon captured. During his initial interrogation, he was visited by the pilot who shot him down, Hauptmann Werner Streib, who went on to be one of the most successful Luftwaffe night fighter pilots. Streib stood in the doorway, saluted Stockings and marched away.

Stockings was initially imprisoned at a camp on the Baltic coast, where he worked on tunnels before he was recruited by Wing Commander “Wings” Day (the Senior British Officer) and Squadron Leader Roger Bushell (who would mastermind the Great Escape) to be a “code user”, part of a small, secret and extremely important organisation established by MI9. During his time on No 44 Squadron, Stockings had been briefed on the use of codes by MI9.
Day and Bushell were keen to expand the coding system for passing and receiving messages, which had intelligence and escape news embedded in private correspondence. This activity required Stockings to work closely with the camp’s X organisation, which coordinated all escape activity.

In March 1942 he was one of the first PoWs to be transferred to the new camp for air force prisoners, Stalag Luft III at Sagan. Throughout his time at Sagan he remained a code user, which required him to give up all escape activities. He suffered from serious eyestrain from too much reading in poor light and applied numerous times for a proper eye-test, but the German authorities were not cooperative. He spent almost a year in the East Compound, before being transferred to the newly constructed North Compound in April 1943. He was allocated a space in Hut 104, the site of the entrance to the tunnel “Harry” used in the Great Escape on the night of March 24/25, 1944. He moved to another hut before the breakout in order to provide a space for one of the escapers.

On the night of January 27 1945 the prisoners were evacuated from Stalag Luft III with virtually no warning and, with their very modest possessions, started marching westwards on what became known as the Long March.
In sub-zero temperatures in the worst winter for decades, the march became a huge ordeal and some prisoners died. Eventually, Stockings and his colleagues arrived at an abandoned, and ransacked, old camp and were not liberated until the end of April. For his services as a code user, he was mentioned in despatches.
After leaving the RAF in September 1945, Stockings settled in Norfolk and started a poultry farm, before becoming a pig breeder. He developed and maintained an extensive outdoor herd very successfully until his retirement in 1994 at the age of 78.

He played tennis, squash and badminton well into his fifties and he reached a very high standard as a bridge player.
Henry Stockings married first, in 1945, Mabel West; she died of cancer. He married secondly, in 1956, Catherine Stirk, who survives him with a daughter from his first marriage and a stepdaughter; two sons from his first marriage predeceased him.

Obituary published in the Winter 2015 edition of OP magazine

Colin Kidman OBE (1938)

Colin Kidman (1938) passed away on 26 April 2014.

Colin Kidman

Mr Charles Kidman writes:
I feel honoured and privileged to have been asked by the School to write some words about Colin’s life. His school days started at Milton Road Infants School and he progressed to The Perse Preparatory School and onto The Perse Senior School. He clearly enjoyed his time at The Perse, a fact illustrated by the support he has given to the School over many years. He greatly appreciated the fact that the School kept in touch and acknowledged his generosity. Colin was a very proud Old Persean.

On leaving school in 1938 he went to The London School of Building, which was based in Brixton. However, during his second year in 1940, the College was bombed and totally destroyed. Colin returned to the relative peace and safety of Cambridge. He failed his medical call-up for Military Service due to his severe asthma and so then started his employment with Kidman & Sons, the family building company founded by his Grandfather in 1876. Colin’s distinguished career with the company lasted seventy two years, including forty as Chairman.

Colin represented the company at the local branch of the National Federation of Building Trade Employers. His knowledge, expertise and ability to express himself, was quickly recognised and he was asked to Chair the National Small Firms’ Committee. He held this office for many years and it involved frequent trips to London for meetings with politicians, senior civil servants and executives of national building companies. It was for this work, which he did so well, that he was awarded his O.B.E.

As is normal for busy and accomplished people, other voluntary jobs were offered. Colin became a Tax Commissioner, sat on Industrial Tribunals and became more involved with Masonry, where he held very office.

Colin’s sporting passion, apart from horse racing, was cricket. He played for The Travellers Cricket Club and was, for many years, their President. He was also, for a number of years, Chairman of the County Cricket Club.

Sadly in 2011, Colin suffered a minor stoke and, after careful thought, decided to move to Cornwallis Court, a Masonic home and Bury St. Edmunds, where he would be looked after and be less of a burden to those close to him – a typically wise and selfless decision by a much loved and respected man.

Obituary published in the Spring 2015 edition of OP magazine

John Milligan (1944)

John Milligan (1944) passed away on 24 September 2014.

John Milligan Photo

John Milligan grew up at the Perse where his father, a retired Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer, was the caretaker. John enjoyed life both in school and out of it, and at a young age progressed to Gonville and Caius with a county scholarship. He sang in the college choir, took part in tennis and hockey which he had started at school, and continued to play for many years.

Following his degree in Natural Sciences, he studied medicine at St. Barthomolews Hospital, where he met and married Doreen. After qualifying he did house jobs there, before being called up into the RAF. He thought of studying anaesthetics, but an RAF career in physical medicine soon beckoned, as he was stationed at the rehabilitation units of Chessington and Collaton Cross, where there were many war wounded recovering from injuries. Working with Kit Wynn Parry and others he helped to devise back supports and similar aids to daily living.

Along with Doreen and their four children, a posting in Singapore saw a return to general medicine while stationed at Changi. He gained his membership of the Royal College of Physicians, before retiring from the RAF in 1968 following a final posting at Headley Court, where he was a much loved boss. Physical Medicine changed to Rheumatology, and he, and his family, were delighted when he became the first Consultant in Rheumatology for East Dorset following a move to Poole. He commenced building the departments concerned in both Bournemouth and Poole and the surrounding areas.

For the next 20 years he enjoyed a very busy and successful lifestyle, but had time to participate in dinghy sailing competitively, as well as choral singing, and walking and exploring Dorset and Hampshire. A long retirement led to him being able to travel more widely and enjoy being with friends and family, and a number of visits back to the Perse.

Despite being registered as partially sighted and with Alzheimers, he remained very fit until dying suddenly at the age of 87.

Obituary published in the Spring 2015 edition of OP magazine

Terence Miller (1937)

Terence Miller (1937) passed away on 17 January 2015.


From the Telegraph

Professor Terence Miller, who has died two days short of his 97th birthday, was a geologist and palaeontologist who, as a university administrator, came under fire from extremes of Right and Left.

Early in his career Miller contributed sections on geology to volumes of Pevsner’s Buildings of England series; as a palaeontologist he isolated and identified a group of aquatic invertebrate animals, the Upper Palaeozoic Bryozoa. But as he recalled in an interview in later life he left his academic field just as things were beginning to get interesting: “It was becoming clear even in the 1950s that something was brewing… the preliminary ripples of momentous things. I found myself having to hold up tutorials whilst my bat-brain continued to crunch and grumble over the latest papers on geomagnetic sea-bed patterns, off-set faults, oceanic trenches, ophiolite belts and the like… In the end, I left geology never to return – alas, at exactly the wrong moment!” By the time geology had undergone the great “paradigm shift” to plate tectonics in the late 1960s, Miller had left the field.

In 1967, through British government auspices, Miller was appointed principal of the University College of Rhodesia, where the administration of Ian Smith had declared UDI two years earlier. Under British rule the college (now the University of Zimbabwe) had a special relationship with the universities of London and Birmingham and was constituted as an independent institution of higher education and research, open to all races.

Miller was deeply committed to this liberal multi-racial vision and therefore came into bitter conflict with the Smith regime. He was attacked as a “commie bastard” and was once given a dressing-down in person by Smith. When, in 1969, Rhodesia declared itself a republic, with a racist constitution, Miller resigned and returned home.
His African students petitioned him to reconsider, but he explained that he would only change his mind “if the Rhodesian Front Government were to disappear overnight in a cloud of smoke”.

Two years later he was appointed director of the newly formed Polytechnic of North London and found that he had jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. The new institution had been formed from a shotgun marriage between two unwilling partners (the Northern and Northwestern Polytechnics), with an academic structure involving an unusually high level of student representation. At the time the polytechnic’s branch of the National Union of Students was in the grip of the International Socialists, a Trotskyist group for whom militancy for its own sake was a guiding principle. Even before Miller took up his appointment, the group had issued a statement promising “the most serious disturbances this country has yet seen in a polytechnic”.

They were as good as their word. Before Miller arrived, militant students staged an occupation of the polytechnic demanding that his appointment be rescinded (the fact that he had worked in Rhodesia was held against him and he was accused of “racism”, even “fascism”). He made his first appearance as director designate through a window as students had barricaded the door.

Troubles continued until the late 1970s. Students who did try to work during occupations were bullied, while non-Marxist university speakers found their lectures picketed or broken up. Governors’ and academic board meetings were invaded. Miller himself once received a black eye during a scuffle with protesters.

Miller’s somewhat autocratic, outspoken management style and his insistence on academic excellence (“elitism”, said his enemies) did not help, and some staff and governors joined students in campaigning for his dismissal. In a spirited defence of Miller in 1975, Lord Annan, provost of University College London, attacked the “brutal and brazen” treatment to which he had been subjected and declared the goings-on at the polytechnic to be a “public scandal”, but Miller did not always make things easy for his supporters. Admitting he was “not temperamentally a politician”, he once confessed that he itched “for the ability to say ‘Hang the ringleaders,’ ” adding: “One can’t unfortunately do it.” One of his key allies, Caroline Cox, the head of the sociology department, felt obliged to protest when Miller declared that “sociology is in about the condition chemistry was in when they called it alchemy.”

Despite the enormous stress on him and his family, Miller soldiered on as director until 1980, when he took early retirement, by which time the main troublemakers had left. In fact even during the worst disruption, most students came to the polytechnic to work, and despite a brief drop in admissions for some courses, the institution (now London Metropolitan University), not only survived but prospered.

Terence George Miller was born on January 19 1918 in Cambridge to Scottish parents. His father was estates manager at Jesus College, and, after education at the Perse School, Terence won a scholarship to the college to read Natural Sciences.

His studies were interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War, during which he served, first, as a troop commander with Royal Artillery Special Forces in Norway, France, Holland and Germany and then, after a short spell in the Parachute Regiment, as a squadron commander in the Glider Pilot Regiment from 1942 until the end of the war.
After seeing action on D-Day, June 6 1944, he returned to RAF Brize Norton where he married Inga Priestman. On September 17 he returned to action at Arnhem, but was taken prisoner by the Germans on September 26 and was officially reported “missing, presumed dead”.

Sent to a camp on the Baltic coast, as the Allies advanced he and his fellow prisoners enjoyed taunting their guards by sidling up to them and whispering “Russki kom” while performing a throat-slitting gesture. He recalled the morning when the prisoners woke up to find the guards had disappeared and the whole camp was eerily quiet. As they emerged through the unguarded gates they heard the sound of an approaching tank. It stopped a short distance from them, the turret opened and a Russian soldier enquired “benzin?” (petrol?). Hastily denying all knowledge, they set off towards the western Allied lines ahead of the approaching Russians.

In 1948 Miller returned to Cambridge to complete Part II of his undergraduate studies, graduating with a First in Geology and a Harkness Scholarship.

He remained at Jesus as a research fellow, publishing two general interest books, Geology (1950) and Geology and Scenery in Britain (1953). It was through his Cambridge geology professor and mentor, Percy Allan, that he was commissioned to assist with sections on geology for the Pevsner series.

Miller continued his academic career at Keele University where he was a founding member of the Geology department. In 1965 he was appointed to a chair in Geology at Reading University. Until he left for Rhodesia, he continued his involvement with the military as a lieutenant colonel in the TA, serving in Germany, the Canadian Arctic, East Africa and Borneo where he applied his geological expertise to military engineering.

Following his retirement, Terence Miller and his wife Inga moved to Falmouth, where he enjoyed researching military history and sailing a series of dinghies in the bay. In later life they moved again to north Norfolk where he developed skills as a sculptor. Inga, who died in 2012, was a trained artist who had her own studio.
Terence Miller is survived by their son and three daughters.

Obituary published in the Spring 2015 edition of OP magazine

Brian Lister (1941)

Brian Lister (1941) passed away on 16 December 2014.

Brian Lister

Brian Lister was one of Britain’s foremost post-war designers and builders of competition cars. From its inception in 1954, the Lister quickly became a benchmark for the front-engined sports racing car; it had few competitors.

Brian Horace Lister was born on July 12 1926, one of two sons of Horace and Nell. Horace, who had trained as an engineer at Brotherwood’s, a torpedo manufacturer in Peterborough, had joined the family engineering firm (established by his own father, George, in 1890) after the First World War.

On leaving the Perse School in Cambridge, Brian was apprenticed to George Lister and Sons in 1942, completing his training in 1946, when he joined the RAF for two years’ National Service before returning to the family firm. He chose the RAF for two reasons: the prospect of using his engineering skills, and his enthusiasm for jazz (as he put it: “The RAF had the best bands”). He became a well-known performer on the drums, having formed a band, the Downbeats, during the war.
Lister had bought his first motor car – a very tired former police force MG – as soon as he could; it was swiftly replaced by a Morgan 4/4, followed by a Cooper-MG.

In post-war Britain, motorsport was enjoying a resurgence, and Lister’s thoughts turned to competition. He helped to co-found the Cambridge 50 Car Club, another member of which was a diminutive Scot, W A “Archie” Scott Brown. The two men became firm friends and shared a mechanical guru, Donald Moore, who maintained the hard-worked engines on both their cars.
John Tojeiro, in nearby Huntingdon, was a customer of Lister Engineering, and Brian bought the second Tojeiro ever built, which he started to enter in sprint events in 1951. After he had been almost beaten in one race by Scott Brown, on Moore’s advice Lister handed the feral car over to him for the rest of its career; his own interest was veering towards being a constructor.

Accordingly he asked his father to fund the development of a car bearing the family name. Horace agreed, and by the summer of 1953 the project was under way. Brian would build the car, Don Moore would provide an MG engine and Scott Brown would drive it. The car made its debut on April 3 1954 at Snetterton, and won.

At the British Empire Trophy race at Oulton Park a week later, however, there was a huge potential setback. Scott Brown was severely disabled, having only one hand and foreshortened legs, and standing only 5ft tall. Another competitor protested against his entry in the race on safety grounds, and Scott Brown’s racing licence was summarily withdrawn. It was restored two months later, on appeal, and Lister kept his faith in Scott Brown, engaging other drivers only for as long as Archie was unable to drive the car. It was to be one of the most remarkable synergies in sport.
From then on, the Lister car evolved rapidly, powered by Bristol and, later, by Maserati engines. On the strength of his Lister drives, Scott Brown was retained as a Formula 1 driver for Connaught, which somewhat frustrated Lister’s own efforts in Formula 2. Then, in 1957, the Lister Jaguar appeared, which drew everyone’s attention. That season, out of 14 races entered, it won 12, setting either a fastest lap or an outright record on each occasion. Unsurprisingly, customers appeared for the next year, and the car was put into production for 1958, powered either by a Jaguar engine or, for the American market, a Chevrolet option. Lister was suddenly in the first rank of sports car builders; if he was genuinely bemused by this, aware as he was that the car had been designed around the physical peculiarities of Scott Brown, he did not show it.

It was at a race at Spa, in May 1958, that the great adventure faltered: Scott Brown died after crashing, and Lister had to be persuaded to keep going. He did, but only after some lengthy introspection, and persistent deaths in motorsport gave him pause for more thought. Finally, in the summer of 1959, after the deaths of Ivor Bueb and Jean Behra (neither in Lister cars) he withdrew from racing, supporting existing customers until the effort wound down in the 1960s. His last foray into racing was the preparation of the works Sunbeam entries for the 1964 Le Mans race.

He remained actively involved in Lister Engineering, taking it successfully into the field of packaging machine manufacture . He also continued to pursue his interest in jazz, performing publicly as late as 1990.
An unfailingly polite, drily humorous but essentially diffident man (despite his affection for colourful bow ties), Brian Lister viewed his professional association with Archie Scott Brown as both the highest point of his career and, in the way it ended, the lowest.

He married, in 1951, Josephine Prest, who survives him with their daughter.

Obituary published in the Spring 2015 edition of OP magazine

Donald MacPherson (1977)

Donald MacPherson (1977) passed away on 27 May 2014.

Donald MacPherson

Remembered by Ranjit Bolt (1977)

Donald Macpherson was the best, the staunchest friend I ever had. He was also one of the most exuberant and positive people I have known. For these reasons, it was not merely his passing, so prematurely, but also the manner of it, that so deeply saddened me. For weeks after I heard the awful news of Mac’s death, he would be the first thought that came into my mind when I woke up. We were close friends throughout our time at The Perse. Without Mac (and I dare say the same was true in the other way round) my life at the school would have been very different, and much harder. Apart from the traits I have already alluded to, he was also blessed with a great sense of humour. I can still hear, for instance, in my mind’s ear, some of the hilarious impressions he used to do, not least of the Headmaster.

After leaving the Perse, and then Oxford, we of course stayed in touch. When I was going through a very difficult time financially, he twice helped me out, once with a sizeable loan, once with a gift. Despite the fact that we weren’t seeing nearly so much of each other as in the old days (he moved up to Scotland on leaving Oxford, to take up a job with British Rail) he remembered and valued our friendship, and stayed loyal to it. That was typical of the man – as I say – staunch, true, generous – a person of immense integrity.

One of the last conversations I had with Mac was in the spring of this year. He had called me from the hills around Perth, where he was on one of his regular long walks. He had come to a memorial to one of the Gray girls – the famous Perth family, one of whom, Effie, married the painter John Everett Millais – and wanted to tell me about it, and them. He was talking about this famous aspect of local history with such enthusiasm – sounded so full of life – I still find it almost impossible to believe that, only a few weeks later, he would be gone. I miss him hugely, and I know that he will remain in my thoughts for the rest of my days.

Obituary published in the Winter 2014 edition of OP magazine

'Sandy' Green (1942)

James ‘Sandy’ Green passed away on 7 April 2014.

Sandy Green joined The Perse in 1935 when his father Frederick was appointed Drapers Professor of French at the University of Cambridge. His favourite subject at school was chemistry but by the time he arrived at St Andrews at just 16 years of age he had decided that mathematics was his true vocation.

After two years as an undergraduate he put his university career on hold when he went to Bletchley Park to undertake war work.
‘… I arrived in August 1944, and the war in Europe was in its final phase. By that time M H A Newman’s plan to use specially designed electronic computers to assist in the decipherment of the “Fish” series of coded messages was well advanced. I was one of a number of new recruits to Newman’s section (which was called the Newmanry), and our main task was to operate these “Colossus” computers, using well-established routines.’

It was at Bletchley Park that Green met his future wife Margaret, a Wren. In 1946 Green returned to the University of St Andrews to complete his first degree. He was awarded a PhD from Cambridge in 1951. (Sandy’s brother Christopher Green (1947) graduated with a BSc in Applied Mathematics from St Andrews the same year.)

His first lecturing post (1950) was at Manchester University, where Newman was his Head of Department. In 1964 he became a Reader at the University of Sussex and in 1965 was appointed as a Professor at the newly-formed Mathematics Institute at Warwick University, where he led the algebra group. He worked as a visiting academic at Princeton and in France, Germany and Portugal. After retiring from Warwick he became a member of the faculty and Professor Emeritus at the Mathematics Institute of the University of Oxford, in whose meetings he participated actively. His final publication was produced at the age of 80.

Green found all the characters of general linear groups over finite fields (Green 1955) and invented the Green correspondence in modular representation theory. Both Green functions in the representation theory of groups of Lie type and Green’s relations in the area of semigroups are named after him. His final publication (2007) was a revised and augmented edition of his 1980 work, Polynomial Representations of GL(n).
He was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1968 and the Royal Society in 1987 and was awarded two London Mathematical Society prizes: Senior Berwick Prize in 1984 and the de Morgan Medal in 2001.

Obituary published in the Winter 2014 edition of OP magazine

Harry C. Davis (1944)

Harry C. Davis (1944) passed away on 11 March 2014.

Dr Katerina Krikos-Davis writes:

Harry Clayton Davis was born in Beccles, Suffolk, in 1927. Following his father’s appointment as Manager of the local Midland Bank, the family moved to Cambridge in January 1936 and Harry joined the Perse Preparatory. He left the Upper School in 1944, entering Trinity College, Cambridge to read English in January 1945. A year later, he was called up for National Service in the Royal Navy and was only able to return to University for the Michaelmas Term of 1948, graduating in 1951.

After a short period of school teaching, Harry travelled to Italy intending to spend three months in Rome, but, falling under her spell, he stayed for fourteen years! He turned his hand to many things: broadcaster of news in English for Italian Radio and TV, professional translator, head of English Language courses at the Italian Middle and Far East Institute (IsMEO) and teacher of English at Rome University; he also took a second degree, with First class honours, in Italian Language and Literature, as an external student at London University.

In 1966 he was appointed to a lectureship in the Italian Department at Birmingham University, heading the department from 1989 until his retirement in 1994.

Harry co-edited Essays in Honour of John Humphreys Whitfield (London 1975) and published some good scholarly articles. Teaching, however, was his true vocation and he excelled at it. On the news of his death messages poured in from past students, including graduates of forty-odd years, some even travelling to Birmingham for his funeral.

A man of letters, a true liberal and deeply cultured, Harry was also unfailingly courteous, considerate and loyal. With a zest for life, an irresistible sense of humour and the ability to reach out to people of all ages and from all walks of life, he was a much loved figure, his company sought out to the end even by the young.

A Greek graduate student, Katerina Krikos, likewise found his personality irresistible when they first met, in May 1975. They married a year later and remained deeply devoted to each other till the end.

Obituary published in the Winter 2014 edition of OP magazine

Richard Charles (1972)

Richard Charles (1972) passed away on 21 July 2013.

Richard Charles

Steve Charles (1977) writes:

Rick Charles was one of the most high-ranking members of the RAF that The Perse has produced. He joined the RAF Legal Branch as a Flight Lieutenant after taking a Law degree at Nottingham University. After tours in Germany, Hong Kong and the First Gulf War he rose to the rank of Air Vice-Marshal and Head of the Legal Branch. He was honoured by the Queen as a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 2005.

He was always fascinated by aircraft and aviation history and had been a keen member of the RAF section in the CCF at School. He obtained his private pilot’s license while at University. More recently he flew in the skies around his home outside Cheltenham. Boyhood dreams were realised when he flew in the gun turret of a Lancaster bomber, and subsequently flew a Spitfire in the summer of 2012.

At School he had been a member of the 1st XV and 1st XI in hockey. He had a life-long passion for rugby and became a season ticket holder of Gloucester, contributing to the game as a Discipline Officer of the RFU, working on Disciplinary panels for Rugby Premiership matches and the Churchill Cup. He had many other interests: bird watching; beekeeping; Trustee of the RAF Charitable Trust and The Royal International Air Tattoo; a long-serving Cotswold Way Volunteer Warden, and long distance walks.

He was happily married to Anne from 1979 and they had two sons, Philip and Thomas. Rick retired from the RAF in 2009 and was hugely enjoying his wide portfolio of interests. He derived particular joy from flying and walking the countryside. Unfortunately over Christmas 2012 he was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive brain tumour, and despite treatment he died on 21 July 2013, aged 59.

After his death, his family and friends, including many OPs, wished to commemorate him, and permission was granted to erect a bench on the section of the Cotswold Way that he had cared for, just inside the Prestbury Butterfly Reserve above Cheltenham. The beautiful oak bench, a fitting memorial to a thoroughly decent man, will provide rest to walkers that pass by for many years to come. It has been expertly engraved with a Duke of Burgundy butterfly (to signify the bench’s location) and a buzzard (for Rick’s love of flight and nature), and also a tiny hidden bee. Rick is greatly missed by his family and many friends.

Obituary published in the Winter 2014 edition of OP magazine

Colin Stuart (1947)

Colin Stuart (1947) passed away on 23 January 2014.

Colin Stuart

Mrs Vanessa Stuart writes:

Colin joined the Royal Regiment of Artillery and served in Malaya and Singapore. He learned Mandarin Chinese with the Army and moved to the Foreign Office where he had postings in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

Music was always a very important part of his life and he continued to be involved in one way or another through all overseas postings, indeed all his life. He was a talented and versatile musician, from Musical Director for countless amateur dramatic productions, to playing in philharmonic orchestras, to his greatest passion – jazz.

He played with Harry Gold and his Pieces of Eight and was a guest soloist with the BBC Big Band. He played in Don Rendell’s Goldsmith’s Big band in the ‘70s where he met Len Phillips. Len formed his own band in 1985 and Colin was the band’s last remaining founder member.

Once retired, he was able to enter a third career as a professional musician. His first full-time gig was lead trumpet on the QE2 world cruise and he became a well-known face on the London jazz circuit. He continued to play in the Len Collins Big Band when it was taken over by Joe Pettitt about four years ago.

Obituary published in the Winter 2014 edition of OP magazine3

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