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Responses to the video
And to the many personal reflections you’ve harvested on Bob himself I would add just these two:
- In the summer of my penultimate and final years at HH (‘67 & ‘68) Bob drove me (and Rory Fane-Hervey in ‘67, Mike Pritchard in ’68) the length of the country in his magnificent white Merc so we could take the scholarship exams for Ampleforth while he stayed as a guest of the Benedictine monks (whose hospitality he rated very highly). Can you imagine how special we felt? How supported and encouraged? But that wasn’t all, the following two summers he drove up further scholarship candidates (Hugh Scott was one, I recall) and on one of the evenings he took us previous scholars out for a gourmet meal at the most reputable pub, many miles away on the Yorkshire moors. I met rump steak for the first time (he sent mine back because he regarded it as too small) and Chateau D’Yquem with desert…a wine now the preserve of billionaires, I suspect. I can’t begin to account for the long term impact on me of such acts of largesse and respect for us as future adults.
- His handwriting on end-of-term reports. Every other master wrote neatly and to be read. Bob wrote in the same voice with which he took over the main passage or the gym at assembly time – with absolute freedom, confidence and authority – the same heady cocktail he mixed for every generation of us boys who passed through his care. Talk about making a difference in the world!
I think Francis mentioned my best memories of Bob, Morning Assembly. Striding down the hall, immaculately dressed as always, with just a hint of Tabac aftershave. And he would make his announcements, more scholastic achievements, sporting success, some more cricket bats for the Addo’s (what did they do with them all?)
And that, I think is a good part of what he did for the school. He made us all part of the team, part of the success. You didn’t have to be out on the playing field, or sitting the exam, when one part of Holmewood succeeded, we all succeeded. We didn’t have any losers at Holmewood, we were all winners.