OBITUARY The Holly Leaf (1957)

Mr. F. W. Thompson was a master for 32 years (1924-1956)

On the morning of Wednesday, 7th November, the school was shocked to hear that Mr. Thompson had passed away. We had known that he was seriously ill, but on the previous day we had received more reassuring news about him, which encouraged us to hope that he would make a speedy recovery.

Mr. Thompson had been a master in the school for nearly 32 years, and during that time had endeared himself to a whole generation of students. These have over and over again testified to the value of his work, and to the benefits which they received from his teaching. Only a few hours before this was written I was told that his lessons were "always good, and never tedious." I doubt, though if many of those same students ever realised that the ease with which he gave his lessons was the result of very careful preparation.

For my own part, I think of him not so much as a well-tried colleague, which he was, but rather as one whose friendship extended far beyond the school, and which began when he came to join the staff. At home, and on holiday, he was always a good companion, with a characteristic sense of humour, and a considerable command of mimicry. One or two of us still recall an occasion when he sat on the corner of a table and showed us how an elderly lady teacher of his acquaintance gave a lesson History, at the same time knitting some unnamed woollen garment.

Some years ago he started a craze for chess in the school, and remained an enthusiastic player to the end. His remarks about the game he was playing - and about his opponent - were usually phrased in French or German, and were always entertaining.

He was a very keen organiser, and during the last war originated the school farming camps, at which many of our students not only enjoyed a country holiday, but also played their part in the national effort. He also took several parties of students abroad, to visit places in France and Belgium. Later he extended his activities to organising tours for adult parties, and here, too, he won great praise for his efforts.

In spite of these activities, he could always find time to give advice and practical help to others. Again speaking personally, I own him much for his patient help when learning to drive a car. Here, too, his skill as a teacher was evident, as was his thorough knowledge of the working of all the parts of the engine.

To Mrs Thompson and Miss Thompson we should like once more to express our deepest sympathy in their great loss, a loss in which we all share to a much lesser, though still very considerable, extent. The school has lost a valuable and valued member of the staff, and we in the staff room a colleague whose passing has left a void which it will not be easy to fill.

H .J .Callister.