OBITUARIES ISSUE EIGHT J A N U A RY 2 0 1 7
Mike John Daniel Featherstone (Past JS staff, 1968-84)
Mike Featherstone died on the 10th February 2016, aged 69. He was educated at Dorking Grammar School and from there went to St Luke’s, Exeter, which at the time was one of the two or three top teacher training colleges in the country. His quiet, undemonstrative leadership qualities were soon recognised and he became Head Proctor. In 1968, the year he married his wife Mary, he was recruited to Cheltenham College Junior by the Headmaster, Phil Davies. Phil had a hotline to the Principal of St Luke’s and accepted his recommendation of Mike as “an outstanding applicant and student”. Mike was one of several appointments made by Phil at this time of men from a number of the country’s leading teacher training establishments. It was not then uncommon for it to be the case that the staff of preparatory schools were university graduates, so, not for the first time, Phil was setting a precedent. In Mike, his intuition was to be more than amply rewarded. Geography was Mike’s principal academic interest, and he was the school’s first specialist in that subject. Again looking to the future, Phil Davies had, in 1965, pushed ahead with the construction of a new six classroom teaching block, providing accommodation for Maths, French, History and Geography. Mike rejuvenated the Geography course and made the Geography room his own, with vibrant displays relating to current topics and with ever changing examples of the high quality work produced by the boys. Phil Davies told of entering Mike’s classroom to find the kids rolling dice. “What are you doing”- “We are trying to find the probability of failure in a North Sea Oil well.” He always wondered how they calculated the risks! Mike made Geography a great subject for boys to enjoy with direct involvement in streams, coal-mines, farm yards and quarries. ‘Flap’, as Mike was known affectionately to the boys, was a hard, but always fair, task-master. High standards were expected, success was praised, the unconfident encouraged and the occasionally indolent quietly reminded of what was required of them. And, like the very best of schoolmasters that he was, Mike had a sense of humour that was never far from the surface. And, again like the very best of schoolmasters, he was an all rounder. He was a keen sportsman, and a keen watcher of sports. Each term he played his part in coaching school teams: not uncommonly during the winter term, 1st and 3rd XVs were scheduled together, and John Hunt enjoyed many away trips, with Mike in charge of the Junior’s venerable, but not always reliable, school bus – the climb from Bath’s city centre up to Monkton Combe was always something of a challenge! Scouting was one of Flap’s passions, and for many years, alongside Michael Jackson (Tam), he ran the school troop, giving endlessly of his time and enthusiasm to weekly meetings and weekend camps. Linked to his teaching of Geography, Mike developed an ongoing link with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ‘Tarbatness’. The ship’s captain and crew kept the school posted of their movements, as far as security would allow, and the boys would correspond with those same crew members and, from time to time, and as their movements would allow, they visited the school. As if all of this were not enough, Phil Davies asked Mike to take on the role of Day-Boy Housemaster, a role that he discharged over several years with efficiency, great patience and, inevitably, good humour. ‘Flap’ was unflappable! Sadly, from the Junior’s perspective, Mike was always going to move to greater things, and so it was that in 1984 he was appointed Junior School Housemaster at Lord Wandsworth College. John Hunt (Past JS Staff,1971-91) has said: “The Junior’s loss was manifestly Lord Wandsworth’s gain. Mike Featherstone
was, first and foremost, a family man, a man of the utmost integrity and constancy. I never recall an ill-word spoken of him or by him. He exemplified commitment and loyalty, and, unusually in my experience, was liked and respected in equal measure. The Junior lost a fine school master, and I a dear friend.” Guy Dodd (H,1959 & Past member of staff, 1966-82), Former Headmaster of Lord Wandsworth said that: “If I had to sum up Mike in a single word it would be ‘integrity’. Beneath the pipe and behind the beard there was a depth, a sureness, a confidence that his actions and reactions were based on a clear, perhaps unstated, set of principles. Just occasionally there was a human vulnerability too. It was these things that drew so many of us to him.” In retirement he tended his allotment, loved walking the dog in the countryside, enjoyed his railway expeditions, shared Mary’s love for the turf by watching the gallops at Newbury and having the odd flutter. He was interested in ships and sailing and became a watch leader on the Malcolm Miller, a tall ship run for the disabled by the Jubilee Sailing Trust. He regularly attended Royal Geography Society lectures in London, was a keen follower of rugby and a season ticket holder at London Irish. He was a loyal supporter of England but, in due deference to Mary, always showed a very soft spot for Ireland. He and Mary have travelled far and wide together, furthest and probably most memorably to New Zealand a year or two ago. Mike is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew (OJ & W, 1984), daughter Annie and his grandchildren. Bryan Benjamin Harrison MRICS (H, 1957) Bryan Harrison died on the 27th December 2016, aged 79. He collapsed and died at the Tennis Court Club, Leamington Spa, on the 27th December 2016 while playing in the “Fathers and Sons” Real Tennis Competition with his grandson, having won the previous two rounds and heading for the semi-final. At College he was a Sergeant in the CCF, sang in the Choir and was a keen member of the Choral & Music Societies. He carried on his interest in choral singing after College and enjoyed playing bridge as indeed he did real tennis. Bryan qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 1961 and worked for most of his life in the Inland Revenue Valuation Office as a Senior Valuer. He was a great supporter of College and, with Ian McFarlane (NH/L 1946), organised very successful OC reunions for Warwickshire over many years. He revisited Hazelwell just before Christmas for the 150 year celebrations. Bryan is survived by his wife Trisha, their daughter Victoria, son Timothy and his five grandchildren. Herbert John Harrison (OJ & BH, 1945)
Herbert (John) Harrison, son of John Christopher Harrison (S, 1904), died on the 21st January 2016, aged 87. When John left College he joined the army, serving in Palestine with the Royal Welch Fusiliers & South Wales Borderers from 1945-48. He then joined the Royal Insurance Company representing them in Venezuela. On leaving Royal Insurance, he joined a pharmaceutical company, Sanitas Co. Ltd, as Export Manager selling patient medicines both in Africa, Central & South America, and the far East. Having had enough of travelling, he ran a wine company, Bahamas Supply Co., in Nassau in the Bahamas from 1962-1976. On his retirement he returned to Cheltenham where he wrote a book on his travels in 4.