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News > Deaths & Obituaries > Don Walker (1970 - 1990)

Don Walker (1970 - 1990)

You are warmly welcomed to leave a message below, share your memories and celebrate the life of Former Staff Don Walker who we sadly lost in December 2023
Don Walker
Don Walker

Don passed away in December aged 88 and he is greatly missed by all of us, pupils, staff, and parents, of a certain vintage.

Educated at Shield Road Primary School and Chipping Sodbury Grammar School, he was one of the last contributors to National Service before training for teaching at Worcester. A post at the Ridings School, Winterboume, was followed by a couple of years in New Zealand. In 1970 he was appointed to teach Biology at Q.E.H., though R.E. and Maths also belonged to his repertoire. He was, first and foremost, a brilliant teacher of his subject, conscientious and caring. An extension of this was his work in the Natural History Society and his splendid displays for the annual fair. Add also his commitment as a popular form-master, plus four years as a boarding master with much musical involvement, a very talented pianist and you begin to understand what a talent he was.

The appropriateness of a name can never be more apparent than in his case. The exact, astonishing number of hikes made and miles covered are as follows: 1,132 hikes over twenty years and fifty-four hostelling trips, 68,000 miles in the minibuses and 11,000 miles by foot*. More significant was the enjoyment, education and sense of achievement gained by so many pupils in those two decades on his walks, whether on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays or even Sundays. Quite a number of boys took further advantage of D.C.'s generosity in organising hostelling trips (fifty-four major ones in total!) during the various holidays to many parts of Great Britain. The more primitive the hostel, the further away from certain aspects of modem 'civilisation', the more severe the terrain and climbs, the better. A hint of such joys was supplied, too, to the hardy supporters of the termly parents' hikes, which started on a memorable day in May 1976 in Burrington Combe.

As a colleague, Don was the first person to whom one turned if needing help, that is, if he had not already anticipated the need and offered his aid. A lover of good music, he was an avid supporter of all school musical activities and a participant, whether it be in the choir tour to Germany in 1971 or in the chorus line at a boarders' concert. He was a bastion of courtesy and commonsense, sceptical of many modem advances in education, "the most cheerful pessimist" as Lewis Biggs put it, with an immoderate laugh, he was generous, warm and, above all, unselfish. How appropriate that Don would often quote what he felt was the Bristolian motto “where there is death there is hope!”

The news of his death was met with a huge outpouring of love and respect on social media, here are just a few examples...

“He was possibly my favourite teacher”

“What a great man”

“ A very important man in my early weeks at school”

“ A genuinely nice man”

“ I will never forget his eulogising about the qualities of cold tea. I hope he knew how much he was appreciated!”

* A big thank you to the JDP article on DCW in the 1990 Elizabethan

~ Steve Ryan (School Archivist) 

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