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14 January

Catching up with former King’s Headmaster, Tim Keyes

We love to catch up with members of the King’s family and none more so than King’s former Headmaster Tim Keyes (Hon OV) and he has certainly been very busy, since retiring from King’s in 2014.

Hon OV former Headmaster Tim KeyesTim shared with us some of the projects which have been keeping him busy over the last few years, “One long-term hobby that had to take a back seat while I was Head of King’s was bellringing – an addictive and highly social activity that was a good mixture of physical and mental exercise.  I was able to forge a link between King’s and the Cathedral that led to a number of pupils learning how to ring.  When I retired to Ledbury in 2014, I was able to resume this neglected hobby in the tower of St Michael and All Angels church.  Three years later, I found myself in charge (with the grand title of Tower Captain) just at the moment when it was decided that a major restoration project was needed in the tower to repair the bells, replace some of them and bring the inside of the tower up to modern standards.  It was a while since I had been involved in a major fundraising campaign (The Keyes Building at King’s was the last) and so I grasped the nettle energetically and offered to take the lead.

To cut a long story short, with a very competent team around me, and despite a year of Brexit chaos which made it almost impossible to raise money from local businesses, and then the outbreak of Covid-19, we managed to raise £280,000 and (almost) bring the project to a conclusion in December 2020.  There is a bit of finishing off to do, but we think that we now have one of the finest rings of 10 bells (it used to be 8) in the country.  We will also have a medieval tower that can now be a major visitor attraction with a dedicated exhibition area.  Best of all, we will be equipped to be a modern teaching centre for bellringing and hope to start recruiting as soon as the pandemic is behind us.  I will gladly give a guided tour to any King’s connections who are interested.

Hon OV former Headmaster Tim Keyes in Nepal

More than six years on from leaving King’s, Mary Anne (Hon OV) and I still feel a huge attachment to the school and look forward to visiting again when it is possible.  I keep up to date with education as a governor of two independent schools and so have been closely involved with all the challenges of the last year.  I do feel for you all.  It has been a really tough time to be a teacher or a student.  I am also a trustee of the Himalayan Trust UK which has involved regular visits to Nepal to support education in a remote area of the country along with fellow trustee John Walton (Hon OV & former Deputy Head at St Alban’s).  It is very rewarding work and a reminder that really good education can happen in places where there are very limited resources so long as there are dedicated teachers and ambitious pupils.

We would love to be at King’s Day and the Carol Service in 2021 and, if invited, will also be delighted to meet OVs at their reunion events.  I think it is now 9 years since our large white dog, Tom (still thriving), tried to wreak havoc among the desserts in the big marquee on College Green on King’s Day!  Happy memories!  I wish you all, despite these difficult times, a prosperous and fulfilling year.

Mary Anne and I had the pleasure of meeting King’s new Headmaster, Gareth Doodes and his wife, Jess and we wish them all the best as they settle into Worcester and life at King’s with their young family, especially once life returns to a more normal pace after Covid.”