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Deaths & Obituaries


Frederick Wilson “Freddie” Hoult 1938-2019 (SH 51-55)

Sadly the OS Club has been informed of the passing of Freddie Hoult (pictured left with son, Charlie) in May, aged 80. Please click here for more information.

Dr. Geoffrey William Syme “Geoff” Burgess 1942-2019 (H 56-60)

The OS Club has received the sad news that Geoff (pictured second right) passed away on the 25th of May, aged 76.

Robert James “Bob” Sykes 1933-2018 (E 47-50)

Sadly Bob passed away in December 2018. Bob was a keen rugger player and an accurate kicker and played on the first team for Sedbergh. He was also an excellent golfer and after leaving Sedbergh and going into business, he played for many years at Fixby Golf Club in his home town of Huddersfield, becoming Club Captain and winning a number of trophies. His other main interest was in fell walking, learnt no doubt on Sedbergh’s fells. He started a Wayfarers Club in Huddersfield and ran this very successfully until his health began to give out.

His popularity was shown at his funeral at Fixby Church, and afterwards at the Golf Club, when many wayfarers attended, all wearing their club tie. Also many OSs. He married fairly late, to a widowed lady named Marie. His step relations and other family were also present. He had no children of his own.

David Arthur Gilliat 1935-2019 (P 48-53)

The OS Club has been informed of the passing of David Gilliat in March 2019. He was 83 years old.

David Hunter O’Brien 1932-2019 (H 45-51)

The OS Club is sad to announce the death of David O’Brien, who passed away in April. He was 86 years old. A former pupil, parent, Governor and constant supporter of the School, his passing is a loss to all. Please see below for an edited tribute written by his son, Sir Stephen O’Brien, KBE (H 70-75).

David Hunter O’Brien was born on 21st June 1932 – as he would never cease to remind us, with his ready grin and glint in his eye, ‘the longest day in the year’, so, of course, the longest birthday every year!

Born and brought up in Kendal, their home being just across the River Kent from the ‘Works’, the engineering-based firm known as ‘I Bees’ or IBIS, in which the O’Brien family were strongly engaged, he attended Castle Street Elementary School. At the outbreak of the Second World War, aged 7, he followed his brother to Terrington Prep School near York. David would say that he felt that he had been fairly sheltered from war and bombing given where his home and boarding school were, but he recalled that he and his young schoolmates would hear the Lancaster Bombers passing overhead at night en route over the North Sea – they would say nothing to each other; but at breakfast in the morning they were all quiet, counting how many returned.

Just as the war ended, he went on to Sedbergh School, rising to be Head of Hart House. These 6 years were to be the first chapter in a deep enduring loyalty and involvement with Sedbergh, both town and gown. As a pupil, parent, Governor, grand-parent, countless Remembrance Day services at the Cloisters, initiating the 10-mile Day course walk, concerts, social and sporting events, and the Sedbergh Choral Society – his care and love for the people and institution were woven into him as he into them with the deepest of mutual respect.

Whilst at Sedbergh he remembered being very hungry – there still being rationing post-War, referring to supper sometimes being one pilchard on a plate. It was there that he had to endure cricket – I say endure, as he never complained and made no allowances to himself, and was never given any quarter by his own family, teachers or others, but he only ever saw though his left eye, having been blind in his right eye since birth – something that was discovered when he was a toddler.

But at Sedbergh here amid the Howgills and the Lakeland Fells, which he walked and climbed for decades and loved so much, and the sheer beauty of all that we are surrounded by today, David started to realise his talent as an accomplished sketcher, drawer and painter in most mediums and skilled in capturing landscapes and objects, and notably fine portraits with deep insight into character. He loved his art and there are many wonderful creations that adorn the walls of the family’s homes. He certainly had an exquisite artist’s eye and he mastered the art of perspective, notwithstanding the greater challenge than most he had successfully to overcome.

Long before Cambridge, where he went to Clare College to study History with English, David had met Ann Rothwell, always known as Rothy, her school nickname which has stuck ever since. It was David’s good fortune that, being a good school-friend of Clare, his younger sister, Rothy would often come out from school with Clare in those teen years and sure enough met Clare’s good-looking older brother. As he turned 23, he left for East Africa from Tilbury Docks, seen off by his parents Mandy and Dandy and his fiancée, Rothy, for his first 3 year tour as cadet District Officer in Mtwara, Southern Province, Tanganyika (Tanzania today). No home leave for 3 years and young officers weren’t meant to be married in their first tour. Then in February 1956, having got special permission, he sent a cable out of the blue to Rothy (now a Nursing Sister at the Westmorland County Hospital), simply stating:  “Come. Repeat come. David”; not ‘Love David’. As Rothy later found out that extra word would have cost another shilling, a lot from his meagre £75 a year salary. Matching his adventuresome spirit, she went – 7 weeks by ship; and then they were married in the Indian Ocean coastal fishing town of Mtwara in a Mission Church on 3rd April 1956 – a mud a wattle hut, with a sandy floor, and a wind-up gramophone for ‘Here Comes the Bride’. They spent their honeymoon in the foothills of Kilimanjaro at the other end of the country. David has been devoted to her ever since, and she to him. As many of your letters have said, they were a Team, a lovely, lifelong team. Once they were back on their first long home leave in 1958, they could see independence coming to Tanganyika sooner than had been forecast, so David resigned and they returned to England.

The Lakes

In 1969 David was asked to join IBIS in Kendal as a Director with the brief to diversify product lines and develop overseas markets. This happily coincided with both of their hearts’ desire to come back to their beloved Lake District. So we came to our really delightful and beautiful home, High Cleabarrow near Windermere – a conversion and restoration project they threw themselves into – but above all a genuine, warm (when the heating was on) family home, ever hosting our wider family and so many friends of all generations as a hub of welcome and hospitality. And a garden in which David’s many hives and beekeeping skills advanced, not least resulting in lots of tasty honey harvest most years. He became a leading light in the Westmorland Beekeepers’ Association (with Rothy as Honorary Queen Bee) and found himself called out occasionally to deal with swarms night and day, so his beekeeping kit and headnets were always in the boot of his car. He brought his hives to Dent and enjoyed the bees amongst these fells until only a few years ago. A true hobbyist and enthusiast – including sailing the family GP dinghy on Windermere. And always prepared to ‘give it a go’ – an inspiration and example we all gained by. And that manifested itself in his intense enjoyment of skiing when, in the 1970s, we went to the Alps, including initiating himself and me into ski-touring hut to hut across the roof of the Alps, roped together across perilous avalanche-prone slopes and crevasses – a chance for us to have an intensity of relationship built on his adventuresome courage, example and sheer good company.

After 10 years at IBIS, the Division that David had created in only 6 years, IBIS Medical (supplying turnkey hospitals and equipment overseas), was awarded the Queen’s Award for Industry for Exports. However, only a few months later, the burdens on the mother engineering businesses overwhelmed it and IBIS Group ceased to exist. Disaster loomed. Mum opened High Cleabarrow as a Nursing Home. David became a Consultant, including travelling to Lagos, Bahrain and a year in Harare for the Ford Foundation for the rehabilitation of Zimbabweans who had suffered under the pre-independence regime. He was instrumental in the enterprising creation of the old Shell site in Trafford to today’s thriving Carrington Business Park. He was indefatigable. There were some very lean years.  And it was at this time he was asked to become a Governor of Sedbergh School – despite the pressures on him, he chose to take on that voluntary responsibility and served spanning 3 headmasterships for 18 years with great distinction. It was in David’s strength of character that, even though his career turned out to be anything but plain sailing, he retained his dignity, had no self-pity, harboured no resentments, and had that wonderful unselfish ability to forgive and forget. That was also deeply appreciated by us children – when we overstepped the mark, there would be a flash of irritation or sharp word, and then it was over in a trice; forgiven and forgotten – but lesson learned!


In 1988, they left High Cleabarrow and came to The Wool Shop in Dent – embracing and being embraced by this wonderful Dentdale community for more than 30 years. They were soon enjoying a varied and busy life, with Mum running The Wool Shop.

Others have remarked how he was always immaculately turned out, be that in a jacket and tie, or with his brown apron on when fettling on in his workshop and around the house, or with hat and, more recently, stick, in his walking breeches, which he sported as much when visiting our families in London, Sussex, Yorkshire or Cheshire as he did when out on “The Fells that are all around us” – to quote a line from a Sedbergh School song.

As one who is with us here today has written:

‘David’s friendship, encouragement, wisdom, loyalty and desire always to do what was right and not follow popular prejudice or whim set him apart – to say nothing of the wonderful sense of humour which always accompanied his wisdom! It is his courage and strength of will in adversity, his indefatigable spirit and outstanding example of all that is honest, fair and ‘good’ which will now live on in those who were fortunate enough to know and respect him.’

A much and dearly loved and loving husband to Rothy; father to Clare-Marie, Karen and me; father-in-law to Gemma, William and Nicholas; grandfather to Harry and Tom, James, Angus and Clara; and Edward, William and Sam and most recently grandfather-in-law to Jo – he was so thrilled to see  the first of his grandchildren to be married when we were all together for a happy, happy day at the beginning of September last year; together with his love and support for his and Mum’s wider families; and a wonderful friend to so many far and wide, and near, faithfully enduring over all the years.

David died in the full knowledge of the love of his family – and the many, many people whose lives he touched.

Thomas Edward “Ted” Richardson 1927-2019 (E 41-45) 

Please see the following eulogy from daughter Mary Richardson.

Thomas Edward Richardson, Ted as you all knew him – Dad to me – was born in Hull on 4 March 1927, to Thomas Richardson Senior and his wife Mildred.

He grew up in Anlaby with his older sister Betty, who would later marry a Mission to Seamen minister and move all over the world before settling in New Zealand. Ted Senior was a big character, who flew planes alongside Amy Johnson; got an OBE for teaching flying during the war; and had a speedboat on the Costa del Withernsea. Dad would recall falling out of the speedboat, and being terrified at being taken up in his father’s biplane with an open cockpit.

Dad went to Kingston High School, which was evacuated to Scarborough, Bingley and Bourne to avoid the wartime bombs falling on Hull.He was then moved to Sedbergh School in Cumbria, far away from the bombing. He thrived there, becoming both head of his house and captain of the school’s rugby team. In later years he visited his old school frequently, often recollecting the awful food, long runs over the fells, cold showers, and, despite all that, his love for the place. Next he did his national service in the Royal Signals from 1945 to 48. Serving as a lieutenant he also won a cap for playing in the Army rugby team.

This was immediately after the war, and Dad was much affected by the devastation he saw in Germany and back home in Hull. He explained that seeing hungry children begging Allied soldiers for food in Germany set him on his course in life to become a farmer. He felt there was nothing more fundamental nor important than feeding people – plus he didn’t fancy a desk job anyway. So after his national service he got a placement on a farm near Ripon owned by the father of a school chum William Frank, who became a good friend for life.

And following that he went up to Queens College Cambridge to study agriculture – and play rugby… becoming captain of the rugby team and head of college, in a repeat of his success at school. Students weren’t allowed to take cars to college at this time, so he kept his Austin 7 hidden down a side street…Dad knew he wanted his own farm so, in order to pay for it, after graduating, he took a job as manager of a tea and coffee plantation in Uganda, where he played rugby for the East Africa team. He returned with many tales about his big adventure – including close calls with some of the local wildlife – and enough money to buy Low Farm, Gransmoor, in 1956. Ever the practical farmer he chose the farm because he felt the land would be neither as light as that up on the Wolds, nor as heavy as Holderness clay. With the help of his father, he spent the next few years improving and modernising the farm, doing everything from laying concrete in all the yards to building his own milking parlour using scaffolding poles, bike parts and loo chains. All the while milking his new herd of cows every day. One thing Dad was never afraid of was hard work.

Having made the farm as he wanted it, he set about finding the farmer’s wife, and settled on a very beautiful – and very YOUNG – redhead he spotted at a Young Farmers’ dance in Hull. When she disappeared Cinderella style at the end of the night he only knew that her name was Susan Fewson and she came from Aldbrough in Holderness. His friend Sheilagh Burdass, Pete’s mum, acting as matchmaker, worked out who she was and got her phone number (Mum found the scrap of paper Sheilagh gave him with her phone number on it still tucked in one of Dad’s pockets only the other day…)

This was the beginning of a sixty-year love story, and the couple married at Aldburgh in 1968. My sister Mary came along the following year and me in 1972. Dad settled down to family life, and played his part in the local community, as a member of everything from the local agricultural discussion society to the 41 Club.

The concept of duty was very real to him and he took his turn as a school governor and later as a long-time and diligent warden here at Harpham Church. He continued to be a much loved member of the congregation here until his death. His faith was very important to him. He saw the hand of God all around him in the natural world he loved so much. And he loved Church architecture – this building in particular – and Church music.

Dad worked hard, almost to a fault. He seldom took a break but we went on a week’s holiday to Scarborough once a year. Photos of us setting off on the first of these trips show Dad looking like a film star in a white jacket as we headed for the Royal Hotel. By the time I remember much about them, he would be wearing a cagoule and we’d be staying in a B&B. Dad enjoyed these well earned breaks, reading James Herriot books on the beach and laughing so hard that he once actually fell out of his deckchair. The longest holiday he ever took was to mark his 70th birthday with a trip to New Zealand to visit sister Betty and family.

But that was uncharacteristic. Dad didn’t venture off the farm much. He didn’t need to because it was his world. He knew intimately and loved every single square foot of it. And he worked. Hard. All the time. We have worked out he grew enough wheat over the years to make about 12 million loaves of bread.

He wasn’t really one for hobbies once he stopped playing rugby for Driffield (because away matches clashed with milking) – preferring simply to do more work. But he was a keen amateur inventor, devising all kinds of gadgets for the farm, from a switch for the dryer that used a human hair to detect moisture in the atmosphere, to a foam ‘blobber’ made from an old vacuum, which showed the tractor driver where he had sprayed. In another life he could have been a talented engineer.

In his eighties Dad got his five grandchildren, Woody (Thomas Edward Richardson IV), Joe, Vinnie, Teddy and Lolly, who he loved greatly. He continued to take an active interest in the farm – and in the wider world – in retirement. He had strong views on many things: from flat roofs (‘asking for trouble’) to wind turbines (‘eyesores’ and a ‘waste of taxpayers’ money’, the latter a category into which quite a lot of other things fell too). Latterly he was usually to be found behind the open pages of his Yorkshire Post, that was if he wasn’t out walking on his beloved land, sizing up the next year’s crop. He was a kindly surrogate father or grandfather to many too, ready to offer advice and paternal encouragement to his many visitors.

At the time of his 90th birthday, we nominated him to appear on the TV show Car SOS. This was a great success. His beloved old truck – a World War Two Utility vehicle – that he had used on the farm, was restored as a surprise and he was interviewed about his life. Dad was a hit with the programme makers and viewers and we had a brilliant day among the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight planes at RAF Connings by filming him being reunited with his newly restored truck. If you haven’t seen the programme, see if you can catch it being repeated some time.

Tilly herself is now on display at Eden Camp museum near Pickering. Since Dad first became ill a year ago the relationships he and mum have spent their lives building have pay dividends a hundred times over. The support and kindness shown to them as Dad’s health declined has humbled us all. The way all of you here have supported them over these past difficult six months has been incredible. And we are forever in your debt. Thank you.

As a family we would also like to pay tribute, and say heartfelt thanks, to the Macmillan and Marie Curie nurses, and other nurses and carers, who did to much to kindly and tenderly ease the passage of Dad’s last days. To him and us they truly were angels. I am sad that my Dad has died – most of all for my mum, who was the love of his life. And to whom, as long as he was still able to speak, he was still singing ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ – ‘their’ song, from South Pacific, which they watched on their first date. But I am happy he lived the life he wanted to, in the place he wanted, and that he died there surrounded by his family. I am proud of the man my dad was and the life he led. The phrase that has come up time and again in the condolence cards sent to Mum is ‘gentle gentleman’. He was both these things. He was also a good man who took good care of his family to the end, and was a good friend to so many here. Thank you for coming today to help us celebrate his life.

Douglas Eynon 1936-2019 (S 49-53)

Prominent Darlington businessman Douglas Eynon, aged 82 died on 8th February in Norwich. Darlington-born Douglas was educated at Sedbergh School, where he discovered his love of rugby and fell running. Douglas qualified as a Chartererd Accountant with KPMG, formerly Peat Marwick and Mitchell, and after completing his National Service worked for Peats in London. He married Judith in 1962 and they later returned to Darlington where Douglas embarked upon a long career applying his business acumen to buying companies and making them profitable.

Douglas owned a variety of companies, including Hawthorn Limestone, Rolling Stock and Engineering, RS Fabricators, CP Offset Printing, Kohlangaz Fires, and Parker Plant in Leicester. Throughout his career he supported a number of people in starting their businesses, generously giving them his advice and expertise.

His success in business allowed him to retire early and he became Chairman to his daughter’s business, dispensing invaluable wisdom and inspiring a whole new generation. Douglas was treasurer and later trustee of Darlington Rugby Club, President of the Teesside Institute of Chartered Accountants and President of the local Toastmasters Club.

Douglas was passionate about the Lake District and spent many happy hours walking the fells. He was a member of shooting syndicates in North Yorkshire and Norfolk. He and Judith travelled extensively around the world, and he was an avid skier into his 70s, regularly keeping up with his grandchildren.

Douglas and Judith retired to Norwich to be closer to their family. He leaves his wife Judith, daughters Bridget, Sarah and Karen and six grandchildren.


First Name(s)SurnameHouseat SedberghDate
(Dr) Geoffrey William Syme "Geoff"BurgessHart1956-1960May 2019
SheilaDonaldWidow of David Donald (OS) -
Former Headmaster of Cressbrook School (49-76) & Sedbergh Governor (77-89)
(David Donald)
May 2019
Frederick Wilson "Freddie"HoultSchool House1951-1955May 2019
Richard AnthonyHuckSedgwick1973-1978April 2019
Roger Martin BrowneHollinsheadPowell1959-1964April 2019
David HunterO'BrienHart1945-1951April 2019
Thomas Edward "Ted"RichardsonEvans1941-1945April 2019
David ArthurGilliatPowell1948-1953March 2019
John HampdenHyattSedgwick1941-1946March 2019
Ian DouglasSangwinHart1954-1958February 2019
Michael TheodoreBroadbentSchool House1967-1972February 2019
Donald BarrettMackaySedgwick1948-1953February 2019
DouglasEynonSedgwick1949-1953February 2019
Peter EdwardRickittEvans1960-1964January 2019
Robert James "Bob"SykesEvans1947-1950December 2018
(Dr) Walter GrahamMathewsSchool House1943-1947December 2018
(The Rev) Peter J DAllenFormer Teacher, Chaplain, and Second Master1987-1993December 2018
Richard HughThomasFormer Physics Master1967-2002December 2018
Peter MylesHutchinsonHart1951-1955November 2018
Edward Stuart "Zeke"SmithEvans1946-1950November 2018
James RobertBruce-LockhartSchool House1954-1959November 2018
David GoodmanBlanchePowell1947-1951October 2018
(The Rev) David RoyHolmesLupton1947-1952September 2018
Charles GraemeWatherstonSedgwick1949-1953September 2018
John BlackburnTalbotWinder1940-1943September 2018
William Fawcett "Billy"BanksHart1942-1946September 2018
Graham HurndallSmithHart1949-1952August 2018
Samuel John WilloughbyBarkerEvans1993-2000August 2018
William Lewis RobertsonScottEvans1949-1953August 2018
(Sir) Henry Arthur HughCortazziSedgwick1936-1941August 2018
Michael IanGriersonLupton1957-1963July 2018
Andrew SnowdenHartonEvans1963-1969June 2018
Richard JohnRossiterWinder1948-1953May 2018
Stephen Herbert KayButcherWinder1942-1947May 2018
Timothy Wace "Tim"RobertsLupton1951-1956April 2018
David FrancisBarkerWinder1936-1940April 2018
Peter MorleyYorkePowell1952-1957April 2018
Stuart RobertPatonHart1977-1982March 2018
(Prof) Robert Cairns BrownAitkenWinder1947-1951March 2018
(Sir) John ArchibaldFordSchool House1935-1939February 2018
Hugh FrederickLockhart-BallEvans1961-1966December 2017
James EdwardSugden (OBE)Hart1960-1964December 2017
GrahamShepherdSedgwick1942-1946December 2017
Anthony MartinRussellHart1947-1952December 2017
Colin PatrickCrabbieLupton1960-65December 2017
Victor H BrookeDowseFormer Schoolmaster and Lupton Housemaster1963-2000November 2017
Anthony NorburnCravenSedgwick1937-1941November 2017
Michael LindopBottomleyWinder1938-1943November 2017
David Graeme SalvesenMacmillanWinder1949-1953October 2017
Kenneth JohnMcCrackenSedgwick1952-1957October 2017
Stephen AllinsonJayHart1940-1943October 2017
Michael RoydenRichardsEvans1944-1948October 2017
(Prof) Henry KennethWhiteWinder1938-1941October 2017
George BNewbyWinder1956-1959October 2017
Nigel AnthonyHurstLupton1974-1978October 2017
Ian Harold MRobinsonPowell1938-1941September 2017
Patrick EdmundJollyLupton1978-1983September 2017
Leslie "Les"FletcherFormer School Lab Technician1965-1996August 2017
Robert EdwardHodgesSchool House1979-1986August 2017
Alastair JohnBreckenridgeSedgwick1955-1960July 2017
Richard Woosnam Ward "Dickie"DaweFormer Winder House Tutor1954-1973July 2017
Christopher Graham "Chris"WellsEvans1960-1965June 2017
Hugh HighleySugdenSchool House1962-1966June 2017
William Henry RaymondMeageenSchool House1950-1955May 2017
Philip Angus NewhamRobothamHart1979-1984May 2017
Jeremy Frank CollingeFisherSchool House1944-1949May 2017
N Peter C PMeadowsFormer Winder Housemaster1959-1990April 2017
(Dr) Frederic SalkeldPlumptonPowell1946-1951March 2017
David MichaelBehrendSedgwick1941-1945March 2017
Richard "Rick" DavidAbbottLupton1968-1973March 2017
Peter RodneyHydeHart1957-1962March 2017
(Dr) Roger James MawbySedgwick1952-1957February 2017
Richard DrummondHardwickPowell 1955-1960February 2017
(The Rt Hon The Lord) David CharlesWaddington (PC)Winder1944-1947February 2017
Garth RogerNicholasHart1944-1949February 2017
Peter WalterPhillipsSedgwick1947-1952February 2017
Noel WilfridBerrySchool House1955-1960February 2017
William EdwardGreenhalghPowell1945-1949February 2017
(Sir) ChristopherBlandLupton1951-1956February 2017
Peter MichaelPoole (CBE, TD, JP, DL)Lupton1943-1946February 2017
Colin JamesSherwoodPowell1949-1952February 2017
John AlexanderGossipSchool House1944-1949December 2016
Andrew PhilipBradshawWinder1968-1973December 2016
Florian LouisDeVitoSedgwick2008-2010November 2016
Michael JamesWilsonPowell1957-1962November 2016
Paul JamesPageLupton1978-1983November 2016
Peter LowsonAddisonSchool House1945-1949October 2016
Timothy CharlesMilesonSedgwick1996-2003October 2016
(Dr) Samuel KribbYoungHart1941-1945October 2016
John RichardThompsonHart1949-1954October 2016
Ewan Douglas DavidBellWinder1951-1956October 2016
Michael RobinFowlerHart1949-1952July 2016
(Dr) Timothy MartinVentersSchool House1958-1963June 2016
Neil PollockMageeLupton1957-1961April 2016