Category: Obituaries (page 2 of 2)

Philip Day

Phil Day, a popular teacher at Shebbear in the 1950s and known throughout the school as ”Skip” for his leadership of the Senior Scout Troop, has died.

He was one of a group of young masters recruited by Jack Morris and taught French and English and later Physical Education.

He was a graduate of the University of Wales and also spent three years with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

He was married firstly to the sister of a Shebbearian.

Moving to Canada, he graduated again from the University of Toronto, before teaching at Appleby College. In 1989 joined the faculty of St Andrew’s College “with boundless energy, resolve and commitment”.

A short obituary on the St Andrew’s website said that he retired from teaching in 1994 and “will be remembered for his love of languages, rugby, travel and music.”

He died in January 2005, aged 76, after a long illness, and is survived by his second wife Sheryl, son Nigel and daughter Nicola and their children.

Dennis Guy

A fine sportsman, Dennis Guy was a pupil at Shebbear from 1936-39 and was awarded his colours for both rugby and cricket. In his last term he was runner-up for the Victor Ludorum sports trophy. There are some who say he was the best fast bowler the 1st X1 ever had. He also had a fine bass voice, was a leading member of the choir and was much in demand for solo performances in choral works at Christmas and Easter.

He served in the army during the Second World War before returning to manage a successful family bakery business in Exbourne.

He kept up his sporting and other interests long after leaving Shebbear, playing cricket and football for Okehampton and Exbourne.

A widower, he is survived by a son Jonathan and a daughter Rosemary. He died in hospital at Honiton on November 9, 2006, aged 85.

Paddy Hipperson

The OSA has learned of the death of Paddy Hipperson who with Trevor Ward enjoyed iconic sporting status in the early 1950s.

He was at Shebbear from 1942-54 after which he entered Cranwell.

In a 20-year career with the RAF, he flew fighter aircraft, trained as a flying instructor and then transferred to RAF Transport Command.

Later he flew civilian aircraft. He was a Boeing 747 Captain with Virgin Atlantic when he retired in 1995.

He died following a heart attack in May 2004, aged 69. A full obituary will appear in the Shebbearian.

John Wilkins

Teacher and journalist John Wilkins died from a sudden heart attack at his home in Exeter in May 2006. He was aged 60 and unmarried.

His brother Peter writes: “John was at Shebbear from 1956-62 and left to attend Avery Hill College of Education in London where he was successful in obtaining a B.Ed degree.

“He taught in various primary schools in London and Devon before leaving for Queensland, Australia, to take up a teaching post there.

“Through part-time study he took a degree in journalism at the University of Queensland and went on to work for the Publications’ Department of the Queensland Department of Education, a post in which he felt very happy and fulfilled.

“He returned to England in 1986 and worked briefly for Reuters news agency before going on to accept a post as a writer for an Exeter firm producing medical manuals for use in hospitals.

“John remained a committed socialist and Christian to the end of his life and regularly attended St Leonard’s Church in Exeter.

“He was very proud of being an Old Shebbearian and to the end of his life often mused about his old friends and their likely careers. He possessed very fond memories of the school.”

Dr. Alan Hall

Dr Alan Hall, who spent his working life as a General Practitioner in Sleaford, Lincs, has died at the age of 85.

He was at Shebbear from 1930 with his younger brother Keith and then entered St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, as a medical student.

Keith, two years younger, writes: “We were both very happy at Shebbear. Alan was quickly spotted as a high flier. He matriculated at fourteen, then spent three years in the sixth form before he was able to get entrance to St Mary’s Medical School.
“Alan was a very good all-rounder. He was opening bat for the 1st X1 when Don Farley was captain. Her also got his rugger colours as a centre three-quarter.

“He finally went into general practice as Assistant GP in Sleaford where he was to spend the remainder of his medical career.

“He lived a very full and active life and read the Daily Telegraph every day. He wrote his first letter to the Telegraph from the sixth form at Shebbear. If I recall correctly it was about the New Prayer Book.

“He continued to write to the Telegraph all his life, usually about politics, about which he was very passionate.”

Dr Hall died in Lincoln County Hospital on April 2. He leaves a widow and two daughters.

Trevor Ward

Trevor Ward, outstanding Shebbearian sportsman in the early 1950s, has died after a short illness. He was 71.
After Shebbear, he played cricket and rugby for the RAF, rugby for Dorset & Wilts and Devon, and cricket for Devon in the Minor Counties Championship..

As a left-handed batsman, he formed a formidable opening partnership with Paddy Hipperson. Against Bideford Grammar School in his last season at Shebbear in 1953, Ward scored 105 not out and Hipperson 116. The school declared at 252 for 2.

He trained as a teacher at St Luke’s College, Exeter, and taught for more than 30 years at schools in Paignton.

He had a long association with both the cricket and rugby clubs in the town, scoring more than 1,500 points at fly half for Paignton and was top scorer for 14 seasons.

He was immensely proud of his ability to spot young sportsmen with talent.

One of them was Chris Read who went on to play cricket for England and another, Les Mears, a former pupil, who was picked to play rugby for England recently.

In a tribute, former Test umpire Dickie Bird, who was the cricket professional at Paignton in the late 1960s, said: “I know that helping young youngsters find their way in the sporting world was immensely satisfying for him.”

Old Shebbearian Roger Horrell, with whom Ward played schoolboy rugby for Devon, said: “Trevor was a school hero and immensely popular. Of course, that went with being such a good sportsman, but it owed much to his rather gentle, modest and undemonstrative manner.”

Another OS, author Leslie Scrase said: “I shall always remember Trevor as modest, unassuming, gentle, quiet, good-natured, cheerful, friendly, decent and honest – a man of absolute integrity and reliability.”

The funeral was at Preston Church, Paignton, on April 7.

He leaves a widow Ann, and three children, Rosemary, Joanne and Tim.


William Gibbons

Known throughout the school as “Gabby”, Bill Gibbons was at Shebbear from 1948-56. His home was in Lynton.

He became a Ruddle House prefect and played rugby and cricket, captaining both the 2nd XV and 2nd X1. A hardworking boy, he gained a County Major Scholarship to the University of North Staffordshire (Keele) then one of Britain’s newest universities.

In a letter to the Shebbearian in 1958, he wrote: “The main interest in this university seems to centre on the Foundation Year in which one studies all the subjects under the sun. In short, you are given ideas, or ideas are created by you, which you have no time to follow up, and as a result some form of Chauvinism creeps in. However, the first year does give you time to think over your choice of degree subjects and gives you an idea of subjects you might otherwise be totally be wholly ignorant of …”

We were never to know the subject in which he graduated but at some point later he emigrated to New Zealand where he worked as an administrator in education. In 1985 when his old school friend Geoffrey Wrayford, then Vicar of Frome, featured in a news story about officiating at the marriage of an American whose family links with the town went back to the Middle Ages, the story appeared in newspapers around the world.

From Wellington came a letter from Bill saying he had spotted the item. He added he was married, had two small boys, aged three and six, “a house, a mortgage, three quarters of a car, a stamp collection and an overdraft!”

In the 1990s Bill visited the Wrayfords at their new Ministry in Minehead and later one of the Wrayford children stayed with Bill and his wife in Wellington.

Sadder news was to follow. A letter to Geoffrey from Mrs Christine Gibbons said Bill had passed away towards the end of 2005. He would have been about 67

Leonard Brian Andrew

A boy at Shebbear from 1936-42, Brian Andrew was a highly-respected estate agent in Somerset for all his working life. He was also a local politician in Yeovil and a stalwart of the Methodist Church.

He died aged 79 in hospital in Taunton after a long illness in December 2005. An obituary will appear in the next edition of the Shebbearian.

Peter Smoldon

Peter Smoldon, the eldest of three Old Shebbearians brothers died suddenly shortly before Christmas at his home in Burnham on Sea, Somerset. He was 69.

Almost 300 people gathered at Allhallows and St Peter’s church, in the nearby village of West Huntspill for the funeral. Among them were six Old Shebbearians.

After Shebbear (1947-52) and National Service, Peter eventually took over the family business in Newport, Barnstaple, before moving into the world of heavy plant hire. He eventually owned his own company in Bristol.

In retirement he indulged in one of his passions – watching cricket and helping out at Gloucestershire Cricket Club. In his youth he had played for the Shebbear First Eleven and the Old Boys. He was also a former member of the Shebbear First Fifteen. An even greater passion was jazz, both as a player and hugely knowledgeable fan. A jazz band played at the funeral and at the wake afterwards.

Peter leaves a widow, Janet, three sons, a granddaughter and a brother Patrick whose twin Roger, a former headmaster and Justice of the Peace, died in 2002 aged 60, and after whom, the rugby ground at Sutton Coldfield is named.

Michael O’Driscoll

Michael O’Driscoll was a pupil from 1958-63, a member of Pollard House and still remembered with great affection by all those who knew him.

A fine athlete and rugby player, a talented actor also, he gained entry to Dartmouth Royal Naval College after A-levels.

By early 1965, he was serving as a Midshipman on HMS Invermoriston as part of a British operation against Indonesian infiltrators in Malaysian waters.

The minesweeper was attacked off Singapore with mortar fire from an Indonesian gunboat. Michael was killed while manning a machine gun.

Posthumously Michael O’Driscoll was Mentioned in Dispatches. The citation said that Midshipman O’Driscoll showed
“outstanding coolness and devotion to duty while in action”.

Michael O’Driscoll is commemorated at the National Memorial Arboretum on the memorial wall for the Royal Navy, 1965.

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