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Festivals and in St Paul’s – rather fittingly this was to celebrate

the UK joining the Common Market. He wanted to become a

professional singer, but there are only limited openings, so he

decided to sing for pleasure and use his voice to good effect by

moving into teaching. With his classical training Chris managed

to miss the influence of popular music during the swinging 60s

and 70s.

In 1976 Chris arrived at Pinewood, a small, fairly dilapidated prep

school of fewer than 100 boys. He arrived to discover his living

quarters, which were to have been where the present Pre-Prep

library and loos are, had burnt down during one of the hottest

summers on record. His first couple of terms were spent in

‘Laughter’, now a boys’ dorm and then, on the departure of the

school housekeeper, he moved into No 1 Pinewood Cottages.

There he remained, until about ten years ago when he moved

into a village Alms House.

Music was taught in the present Art Room with instrumental

teaching and practice taking place in free classrooms, corridors

and broom cupboards! Chapel duties involved him being in

school on Sundays for morning and evening services, so he had

Thursdays free and would enjoy a full English breakfast in

Littlewoods, Swindon. Chris’s main instrument is the pianoforte,

but during class music lessons the children were taught how to

play the recorder. A number of Old Pinewoodians remember

these lessons well and one said, ‘he was teaching a Year 8 class

of twelve children when he realised all bar two or three were

miming. He slammed the lid of the piano down and screamed,

“Lord give me strength, no wonder I don’t have any hair”.’

As well as organising all the music he helped arrange the Choir

tours to Germany and Tuscany. He founded the Choral Society

with rehearsals taking place in the Orangery (now the Library).

Long will be remembered his performance of Rossini’s ‘Cat

Duet’, which he sang with Jeremy Lane. Few will know that Chris

taught English in Lower School, coached Bottom Game Rugby

and ran the 3rd XI (Pensioners) cricket team. Chris also helped

with many Leavers’ Trips. For years Chris maintained the

swimming pool and he kept it in good order through the summer

holidays so staff and their families could use it. When the school

raised money through sponsored walks Chris helped organise

and mark. He had the keys and organised two important areas:

the Stationery Cupboard and the Wine Cellar; woe betide

anybody brave enough to raid either behind his back!

I have received many comments from Old Pinewoodians and

staff alike and the majority say that despite his sometimes

grumpy exterior he is one of the kindest men they know. A couple

of people commented that it was wonderful the way he enjoyed

food and wine and one mother said that her son had always

wondered whether it was Chris who was Father Christmas. He is

also great company. During his forty years at Pinewood he has

only had a handful of days off sick. One of them may well have

been caused by the trauma of leaving his car engine running

whilst he nipped into school only to find it had been stolen! Many

of you may know that in the 80s Chris was known as Ralf

(Rejected Alien Life Form) named after the pianist in the Muppet

show. At that time he had a dog called Gladstone (known by the

children as Fleabag) who went into his lessons and used get up

and seek attention from the children.

You think you are rid of Chris, but when he heard that he was the

second longest serving member of the Pinewood community

behind Bill Knapp he decided to carry on notching up

replacement wing mirrors on the school minibuses by doing the

morning run.

Thank you Ralf for all the time and energy you have given

Pinewood, you will be missed!


Matt Fuller

Matt came to us in 2013, ostensibly to co-Head the Geography

department; however, he brought much, much more to Pinewood.

He took over straight away as the 1st team hockey coach, leading

them to victory time and again with straight-talking and motivational

speeches. As an on-site member of staff throughout his time here,

he was heavily involved in boarding, and helped set up such popular

activities as Friday night’s Capture the Flag games. In the classroom

he took sets from across Middle and Upper School and ran several

successful Geography trips. He was also universally liked by the

children, not to mention the staff! He contributed so much to

Pinewood life, but as an adventurer at heart, he couldn’t sit still for

too long. It’s not a surprise, then, that he and his wife Vicky are

heading to Malaysia for some new adventures. Despite his short

tenure at Pinewood, he will be deeply missed, not only by his

colleagues and friends, but inevitably, and much more significantly,

by the children he influenced in the classroom, in boarding or on the

sports fields, during his time here.


Vicky Wise

Vicky joined Pinewood from an inner city secondary school in

Birmingham ‘because she missed celebrating Christmas at school’.

It was soon very clear that she would quickly immerse herself in all

areas of school life, but never at the expense of her primary objective:

to teach. In so doing Vicky has taught us all many things.

In the classroom the children have been enthused about all areas of

Science, and Science exam results have improved throughout the

school, due to her diligence and dedication. She has kept us all up

to date with the latest teaching methods and ideas and championed

the use of IT in Science lessons. Her work ethic is infectious and we

have raced to keep up with her rapidly evolving teaching style.

As a form tutor and boarding tutor Vicky has taught us to work

together, fostered great morale within a form or dorm and shown us

how to enjoy free time with craft, sport, games andmost impressively

with Ultimate Frisbee or on Wii Dance.

As a games teacher Vicky focussed on teaching skills and helped

each child develop into amore accomplished player. She recognises

ability and nurtures those who do not necessarily know themselves

to be capable – helping us all to be better than we thought we

could be.

As an organiser of trips, many wetsuit-clad children have been

taught to enjoy outdoor pursuits in Wales and many others now

share Vicky’s love of skiing.

Vicky leaves us to take up a new position in Malaysia where I hope

she will have many adventures as she explores the beaches and

habitats on the other side of the world. In the classroom I am

confident that she will always be driven by empathy for the children

in her care and a desire to help them each reach their potential. She

leaves with our heartfelt thanks for everything she has brought to

Pinewood in the past five years.


BLUE & GREY 2016

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