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26 March

Founder of King’s Hawford, Douglas Garrad.

We were greatly saddened to hear of the death at the age of 95 of Douglas Garrad, who founded Hawford Lodge, now King’s Hawford, in 1955. Douglas was an inspiration to us all and he created a school with energy, heart and a spirit of adventure and countless children have been captivated by the dynamic, exciting and unique education provided at Hawford. The school began in 1955 with 15 children, quickly becoming popular for its location and its free spirited approach. With his wife, Mary Ann, who provided the catering, they lived on the top floor of the main house and the Garrads worked long hours building up the school. Douglas assisted digging out a pit for the swimming pool and introduced sheep onto the top field to keep down the grass. Many former pupils speak with great fondness of those early days, with the School growing rapidly and the current kindergarten acting as a theatre for the many productions that were performed with great enjoyment. Douglas has, in recent years, been a regular visitor to the School site, enjoying performances and assemblies, and was proud to be part of Hawford Speech Days. He leaves a considerable legacy and we will miss him greatly. He died with his family, peacefully, at home and we remember Mary Ann and the family in our thoughts and prayers.

OV and Old Hawfordian Nick Stephens (Br 77-84), (Persian House, Hawford 73-77), attended the virtual funeral for Douglas on Friday 19th March and has kindly written the following words:

To a certain generation, those who were fortunate enough to have attended Hawford Lodge School, education was a time of weekends preparing for Latin vocab tests on a Monday morning, of learning poetry to recite in front of the whole school, remembering to put up your finger if you only wanted a small portion of luncheon (and living in fear of the tangerine blancmange), of times spent shivering in the Cobb (itself named after a dearly-departed former member of staff), that open-sided sports hall that offered little shelter from the elements, of lining up outside the kitchen window to receive our milk and iced buns at morning break (jam sandwiches twice a week), of inside and outside shoes and woe betide the small boy found wearing the wrong ones in the wrong place, of star books, and school caps, of Medes and Persians, Romans and Greeks.

Such was the comforting world over which Douglas Garrad presided. Some years ago, when I climbed the stairs, as a pupil, towards the classrooms of 2Y or 3Y, I passed those doors of Mr Darling’s lodgings with its gargantuan radiogram, the staffroom, and most securely, in the corner, was the Headmaster’s study.

Douglas Garrad, whose funeral it was last week, held the responsibility for the formative education of so many young gentlemen (and later, young ladies) before they were dispersed across the senior schools of Worcestershire and beyond. From across the years, I can remember his voice and was less than surprised to hear and see his son use the same tones and mannerisms, so that it was like seeing our headmaster appear before us. A headmaster is both remote and integral to our lives. There is that which is public and that which remains hidden from our knowledge. It was no surprise to learn of the many facets of his life beyond the school gate: from his charitable work, his long-term support to St Andrew’s Church in Ombersley, to music in the Cathedral, and so many other activities.

A funeral is, of necessity, a family occasion, which others are privileged to attend. It was therefore a real pleasure to learn so much about the life of the man who was so integral to the upbringing of so many others: from the elder sisterly report of the child in Burma and Somerset, the daughters’ joy and grief in the telling of Douglas’ story, the school holidays spent in relaxation in Scotland, the hard work behind the scenes, the life he found in his garden and on the golf course, the poems read by granddaughters, the reflection by the current headmaster on the legacy of Douglas’ work in the setting up of Hawford and his roles afterwards. Each part fleshed out the man who lived again before our eyes and brought to mind the love he had for Mary-Ann, for his school and for his charges. As we were reminded on Friday, we were not children, nor pupils, but we were people. Douglas Garrad treated us as such.

He expected us to do our best, and we tried for him. Many years later, when studying Eliot for A’ Level, I discovered the dedication to Ezra Pound at the start of the Wasteland. It is a dedication suited to many pedagogues of note, but to Douglas Garrad it should stand as a testimony of his commitment, his culture and his legacy:

Il miglior fabbro – He made me better