having merely changed his jacket for a white Arran sweater. Who but he would have dared to walk into a rugby club looking like somebody from Central Casting! For the next few months their whirlwind romance blossomed, they married later that year and moved to The Mill House in Welford, convenient for the business which he had moved years earlier to Alcester and, even better still, with a mooring for the boat at the bottom of the garden. Tamed (to a large extent) by Kay, family life recommenced for him with the arrival of Charles and then Oliver. He loved being with Kay and the boys in Welford and he was happiest when having fun with them and the boat on the river. He could be compared to the dapper Ratty in The Wind in the Willows who said to Mole, “If you believe me my young friend there is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so worth doing as simply messing about in boats”. In 2004, Tony and Kay moved to Avon Reach in Pershore and they were happy, once again, to have the boat back on a mooring alongside the garden. Very sadly, shortly after settling into their new home, Tony suffered a serious brain haemorrhage which, fortunately, he survived. He said that whilst being cared for and recuperating in hospital he remembered a saying of Confucius: “old man in care who want kiss and cuddle from pretty nurse must be patient!” His rehabilitation took some time but was helped greatly by his sense of discipline learned from his army days, his long established will to win, the loving care provided by Kay and the support of friends. It is to his great credit and those near and dear to him that he made it back to near normality and to being able to continue to enjoy life. He loved his classical music, his Daily Telegraph, his comfy chair, sitting in the garden on sunny days, the view of the river, the boat, watching racing, rugby and cricket on the box, trips to home games at Moseley and New Road, Worcester, supper parties and always the good company of old friends. Tony will be missed by all who knew him and is survived by his wife Kay, eight children and six grandchildren.
Mary Ralphs, widow of the late Jack Ralphs (Past Member of Staff, 1961-87), mother of Simon (OJ & S, 1982), Peter (OJ & S, 1984) and Oliver (OJ & S, 1986) died on the 1st July 2016, aged 81. Mary will be remembered fondly by the OCs who were in Thirlestaine House, Wilson House and Cheltondale under Jack’s Housemastership. Educated at Monmouth Girls’ School, she followed in the footsteps of her mother who was taught music by Gustav Holst. Whilst Mary was an accomplished Violinist she also enjoyed sport – Lacrosse and Cricket, possibly more than lessons. Despite those staff that doubted her, she progressed to Sheffield University to read Geography, where she was introduced to the concept of a geography field trip, and the newly emerging theories about tectonic plates. Her trip to South Africa in 1960 changed her life; she met Jack and persuaded him to find a job in England. He wrote to David Ashcroft and was appointed by letter to Cheltenham College. Whilst in Grahamstown, where Jack and Mary met, she introduced girls at the Diocesan School for Girls to tectonic plates and in one particular lesson taught them about ‘loof lirpa’ a notable South African escarpment created by plate movements: after copious notes the girls realised the date of the lesson, 1st April. Probably a sackable offence in this day but acceptable in the 1960s! Mary was not just a Housemaster’s wife but also a teacher at Cheltenham Ladies’ College where she taught on a part time basis from the 1970s to the ‘90s. As a Geography teacher she was 9.
involved in many fun field trips. When she started to teach Current Affairs, ‘Mars Bar Mary’ brought some fun to Friday afternoons as she awarded fun sized mars bars to those who completed her multiple choice quizzes, upholding the motto ‘Work, Rest and Play’. Mary’s sweet tooth wasn’t just for the girls; the boys in Cheltondale enjoyed her tuck shop which was open for business in Jack’s study every evening. The kind and enterprising side of Mary came to the fore on discovering that the boys from Hong Kong and China were missing Chinese New Year, so she purchased a wok and got the boys to cook themselves a meal for Chinese New Year (she confessed later that it was so she could have a real Chinese meal). Mary was extremely loyal to the many societies that she was enthusiastically involved with over the years, including Wives’ Fellowship, a local branch of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS), Music Society, Church/Garden Recording, History of Art, Cotswold Canals, RNIB, Winston’s Wish, Emthonjeni as well as her many walking parties & groups. When Mary and Jack moved to the Courthouse in Charlton Kings, they moved to a house with real local history. It was Mary who got deeply involved in restorations and renovations (revealing wattle and daub and hidden fireplaces). She invested time and money in the property and told the builder: “I will need to work for an extra year to pay for this!”. After Jack died she gained a degree from the Open University in Art History. An enthusiastic traveller, she enjoyed numerous holidays from which she collected thousands of photographs. She was really excited to find a particularly rare plant in flower in South Africa which she took lots of pictures of. The ironic thing was when the holiday party revisited the place the next year it was like a weed! She was a vigorous walker and in her later years enjoyed being able to walk straight out of her house, in Hartley Close, up onto Leckhampton Hill. She built up a close circle of walking friends and they set up an annual walking holiday that she went on every year. She enjoyed choosing the destination whether it be Scotland, Austria, or Switzerland. Her last holiday was to the Lake District in June 2016 where she visited a number of her favourite locations, but in her own words: “the holiday was too short.” A keen gardener, her knowledge was impressive (a lot of the knowledge was passed down from her mother and time setting out the botanical gardens at Kirstenbosch in Cape Town). Not only did she spot rare plants on holiday but she also grew rare plants in her ‘wild garden’ or in pots from seed. When she downsized fifteen years ago to Hartley Close she upsized her garden! This was a special place where she could host her famous strawberry and tea parties and her grandchildren enjoyed playing there. Once, whilst lining up his trucks a grandson said to her: “I too busy.” Well, Mary was too busy keeping in touch with old and new friends and enjoying life to the full and is now resting in peace with Jack and sharing many happy memories of life in Cheltenham. Mary had her fingers on the pulse of all that happened at Cheltenham College during the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s and the attendance of nearly 200 people at her funeral at St Mary’s Church, Charlton Kings, is testament to the warmth and affection she was held in by the many people she knew, loved and respected. Mary was predeceased by her husband Jack in 1987 and she is survived by their sons Simon, Peter and Oliver and her grandchildren. David Michael Richards MA (BH, 1950)
David Richards died on the 6th January 2017, aged 85.