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science practical experiments resurfaced in the technical problems he experienced in the field with laptops and recording equipment. His inability to meet deadlines for Gordon Wallace-Hadrill’s A level History essays was replicated in his professional career, but if his copy rarely arrived on time it was never ever poor. Chris clearly had a loyalty to the unappreciated and unfashionable, whether it be West African politics, rock/punk mod revival, Gloucestershire County Cricket Club or Crystal Palace F.C. (this last one is my fault since my step-father first took us to Selhurst Park to watch the Eagles in February 1976). On all these and many other topics he had an encyclopaedic knowledge – who else but Chris could name the Derbyshire County Cricket team of 1978? I have recently discovered that at the tender age of nine Chris wanted to be a missionary: he was certainly ‘sent’ to Africa and he did so much to promote a true understanding the continent’s many post-colonial struggles. The Greek proverb ‘those whom the gods love die young’ applies appositely to Chris. Chris is much mourned by his father Bill, his devoted sisters, Bridget and Gillian and all his many friends and colleagues.

Jim Brettell (BH, 1981)

Hazel Smith (Past Member of Staff, 1977-2008)

Hazel Smith died on the 31st January 2016, aged 69. She was a very much respected and well liked Senior Technician in the Biology Department. Chris Rouan, Head of Biology during Hazel’s tenure has written in to say: “What does one write when a very special person in your life dies prematurely? How does one convey a life dedicated to the highest professional standards, but more specifically how does one adequately reflect the unique and valued support and friendship so freely given to her colleagues and me in particular over 30 years at College. Such is my grief as I sadly compose this memoriam to Hazel Smith - my beloved, loyal technician for 30 years. We worked together seamlessly, she was my rock, my inspiration and my therapist. I was truly blessed. She had a wonderful Liverpudlian sense of humour and sharing each day with Hazel was a privilege I shall always treasure.  As a Head of Department her steady wise council gave me confidence and guidance. She virtually ran the department, always there to help and encourage me. She took enormous pride in what she did and the dreams, the aspirations, the structures and the day to day running of the department was only ever possible because of her. The place ran like clockwork, complex practicals, resources and exams were always safe in Hazel’s hands.    Although in many ways she was a very private person, she was a brilliant listener and over the years counselled me through various issues and life crises.  Her advice was forthright, but also tempered with intelligence and sensitivity. My children too were so very fond of her and loved being with her in the department. She set the very highest of standards and was a fantastic role model for members of the department, young and old, both teaching and technical. She was a great font of knowledge and experience and had endless patience. No matter how busy she was, she was always there for you.    A few years before she was due to retire she was tragically and cruelly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. True to her character she faced the uncertain future with courage and dignity. With her husband Bob she retired to Southport to be closer to her family. What is left is the special and undying memory of a wonderful lady who touched the lives of all she met.  She was loved, respected and is so missed by all who knew her, especially Bob.”

11.

Air Commodore Michael John Eldon Swiney OBE (NH, 1944)

Michael (Mick) Swiney died on the 30th September 2016, aged 90. He was the brother of Col. David Swiney (NH, 1942), Christopher Swiney (NH, 1948), uncle of Michael Swiney (NH, 1969), son of Major General Sir Neville Swiney K.B.E., C.B., M.C., A.D.C., (NH, 1915), grandson of Major Alexander John Henry Swiney (NH, 1883), and great-grandson of General George Swiney who presided over the College Founder’s committee which held its first meeting on the 9th November, 1840. Mick was an excellent sportsman. He played in the Cricket XI for three years, captaining the side in his last year, batting at number 3 and opening the bowling. He played in all the matches against Haileybury, one of which was played at Haileybury, rather than Lords’, when the MCC cancelled their school week. He later went on to play for the RAF 1st XI. He played in the 1943 XV which was only beaten once by a very competent Rugby XV and captained the 1944 XV. The Cheltonian report on the Felsted game said: “College now pulled themselves together and, after a period of pressure, Swiney found a gap in the defence to score in a good position. A few minutes later Swiney made another dash for the line but just failed to ground the ball.” College won 20-5. The overall report for the year said: “Swiney had an eye for an opening and had a good kick.” He was also a very competent swimmer and represented College as a diver. He won the College Open diving competition in 1942. In his final year he was a College Prefect.  In April 1945, Mick joined the Royal Air Force and it was whilst he was at the Central Flying School at Little Rissington that he met and married Janet Dalrymple in 1948. There then followed a series of postings which took them to Ruislip, West Raynham, Bielefeld and Laarbruch in Germany, Coltishall, Amersham, Saigon in South Vietnam, Leuchars in Scotland (where he was Station Commander), Maidenhead and lastly Bircham Newton, where he was responsible for RAF cadets in the UK, and from where he retired as an Air Commodore in 1980 after 35 years of service. In October 1952, he was piloting a Meteor with a Naval Lieutenant on board in the skies above Little Rissington when, at around 15,000 feet, they saw, he said: “three nearly-white circular objects” which resembled saucers. He reported their observation to ground control and returned to base. Two interceptor aircraft were scrambled but reported that they had spotted nothing unusual. Having landed, the two men were separated and interviewed by intelligence officers. They were told their visual sighting had been corroborated by ground radar and aircraft had been scrambled to intercept the UFOs, without success. Afterwards, the incident was officially closed. His close encounter occurred shortly after a wave of unexplained sightings during the NATO operation Mainbrace. According to Captain Ed Ruppelt, former head of the USAF’s Project Blue Book, it was these sightings that prompted the RAF to set up its first UFO investigation bureau. Many years later, National Geographic did a documentary on UFOs and Mick was interviewed once again, unswervingly reiterating the same story. In 2001, Mick broke fifty years of silence to reveal the full story. His account was published in a book by Andy Roberts, ‘Out of the Shadows’. Mick remembered exclaiming ‘what on Earth is going on!’ Initially he thought they could be three descending parachutes and, fearful of tearing through their canvasses, Mick took control of the aircraft from his co-pilot. As both men watched in amazement, the three objects appeared to change position and lost their circular shape and took on more of a flat plate appearance, much like the classic flying saucer of pop culture. Andy Roberts said

Profile for Cheltenham College

Floreat 2017 - Obituary Supplement  

Floreat 2017 - Obituary Supplement