On Monday 18th November, King’s Development Director, Liz Elliott along with former Development Director, Carol Bawden (Hon OV) and King’s Acting Head, Jon Ricketts (Hon OV) attended the Memorial Service for Michael Baker (Ch 48-55) and Pam Baker (Hon OV), held in Exeter Cathedral. They were delighted to meet Pam and Michael’s family: son, Andrew and daughter, Nicky as well as their own children. Coincidentally their children had been taught by Jon Ricketts, during his own time as Director of Science at Exeter School. Carol knows the Baker family very well as it was during her time as Development Director at King’s that Michael Baker reconnected with the School, coming back to the OV Reunion Weekend in 2004 for the first time in 49 years. Michael held a deep affection for King’s throughout his life as he greatly valued the friendships he made and the support and guidance he received. Michael also developed a love for rowing at the School and his enthusiasm for rowing continued as he joined Exeter Rowing Club, where he was Chairman for 15 years.
Michael’s renewed contact with King’s gave him great pleasure. His confidence in the School led him in 2006 to provide a 100% full-fee bursary for a pupil who entered the School in the Fourth Forms with his support continuing until the pupil left following A-Levels. Michael and Pam were delighted to be able to provide this bursary and their passion for providing opportunities for bright boys and girls whose family circumstances normally preclude them from coming to King’s, led them to make a donation of £1 million to set up the Enduring Bursary Fund.
Michael’s lifetime interest in rowing drew him and his family inextricably towards the School boathouse and this resulted in the family making a remarkably generous donation of £2.5 million to fund the entire project for a new rowing facility for the School: The Michael Baker Boathouse. The Baker family have great pleasure in knowing that their incredible generosity will benefit many generations of pupils to come and, as their daughter, Nicky said, “Michael would be thrilled with the legacy that is The Michael Baker Boathouse. It is not only an edifice of great beauty, it is also a building of great inspiration to budding rowers.”
We are enormously grateful to Pam and Michael for their generous support of King’s and their Memorial Service was a touching and poignant remembrance and celebration of their lives, with Nicky providing a wonderful tribute that she and Andrew had written for their parents. The hymns were ‘I vow to thee, my country…’ and ‘There is a green hill far away..’ and the reading was from John 14:1-6, ‘Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.’ Nicky’s reading of ‘Remember’ by Christina Rossetti was beautiful and Andrew’s rendition of ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ bought smiles to the faces of the congregation.