The Summer of ’85

By Jeff Lewis

In all the 300 plus years of Sandbach School, I wonder if any summer ever saw the end of such a large number of cumulative service years. The Summer 1985 Sandbachian reported the retirement of 5 staff members who had between them spanned 5 decades and notched up about 118 years of teaching at the school.

Bill Banks (Deputy Head) joined in 1949 and, followed by John Hodgson 1957 (Head of French), C Parish 1960 (Head of Physics), George Bliss 1966 (Maths and Deputy Head) and David Gibson 1975 (head of Music)

I remember all of them – with tales to tell of them all. The scariness of Basher Banks and Mr Bliss when joining as an 11 year -old. They seemed to warm to us and humans as we grew a little bit older, and the child-hood fear was replaced by a mutual respect. The induction as prefects, given by Mr Banks and his advice on handling the inevitable rudeness of other boys remains a good dinner time anecdote. George Bliss who single-handedly dragged me to a A in Add Maths O-level (to the detriment of at least 2 other subjects though!) John Hodgson ( like JDR Roberts and John Smith) represented everything I liked in a Head of House, passion , encouragement and commitment. He never taught me French but his ability to inspire transcended his house allegiance. Mr Parish I knew as much through my brother who was actually good at physics, although he did teach us. A quiet assured man who seemed simply to enjoy teaching. Finally, David Gibson, under whose tutelage I achieved my lowest ever exam mark. That is probably unjust given my complete lack of talent, interest and commitment to music. Nevertheless I remember his exuberance and effervescence when he conducted and led performances.

5 great teachers from the past. There have been many more before and since who have committed years of service to Sandbach School, like the late Geoff Piggott, Alan Atkinson, Nick Harvey, Richard Ayres, Glynn Robinson, John Owen, Dr Tony Bartley and recently retired Kevin Sykes. Over the last couple of years many old boys have shared memories of their favourite teachers who inspired them during their time at the School. To these 5 and all teachers past and present we raise our proverbial hats!