Obituaries & Funerals

Obituaries & Funerals

Farewell to Old Ewellians

We know from your feedback, that being a Ewell Castle School pupil has meant a lot to many of you. Your formative years were spent at Ewell Castle School, and you probably made many friends here, some of which you may still be in touch with to this day. Sadly, as a result of illness and, or advancing old age, each year we mourn the passing of some of our old boys. We are looking to acknowledge the passing of our former pupils on this website. If you would like to send us details of Old Ewellian friends who have passed away during the last sixth months or more recently, and if you, or their immediate family would like to provide details of their funeral arrangements (as some may wish to attend), please do contact Carol Hernandez on


Peter Harrison Brown (born 27-08-1938): Ewell Castle School 1947 to 1954 - passed away in January 2020

STUART BLAND - Head of Design and Technology 1978 to 2004

Stuart Bland died soon after being admitted to hospital on the evening of Friday the 9th of July 2020, aged 76 and is survived by his sister Jennifer who asked me to pass the news to the staff and pupils of Ewell Castle School.  
Stuart was a successful pupil in Nottingham achieving 11 ‘O’ levels and ‘A’ Levels in Physics, Chemistry and Botany. He gained his teaching qualification in 1965 and taught Science, Woodworking, Metalwork and Technical Drawing in Nottingham.  
In 1970 his passion for travel and adventure lead him to Africa where he worked at The Petauka Secondary School as Head of Industrial Arts and then at Hillcrest Technical School in Zambia. Whilst there he was responsible for reorganising the national syllabus in Technical Drawing. He returned to the UK in 1978 and in that year joined Ewell Castle as Head of Craft Design and Technology.  
I joined the School in 1993 and worked with Stuart for many years before taking over from him on his retirement. We remained good friends thereafter. For those who knew him the following will, I feel sure, be recognised and for those who came to Ewell Castle after his retirement I am grateful for the opportunity to make known something of one of the School’s past luminaries.  
Stuart was the quintessential gentleman; true to his word, caring and dependable. He rose to every challenge and generously gave of his time with gusto and commitment. He was an inspirational figure to both his colleagues and the children he taught. 
Stuart viewed problems as opportunities to effect change and make improvements. He viewed failure as an essential and unavoidable component to learning and progress. 
Some might say that patience was not his strong suit but on those occasions his ‘bark’ was neither overly loud nor offensive and sprang from his desire to ‘do things right’.  
Over the years I lost count of the young men returning to the ‘Old School’ and making a point of visiting Stuart in the Design building to shake his hand and say ‘Thank You’. 
Stuart’s contributions, beyond leading The Design and Art departments with great vision and academic success, are too many and varied to list here. However his dedication to Drama in terms of Set Design, Set Building and Lighting, his key role in the establishment and running of the IT Department when the subject was first introduced into the curriculum and his significant input to Marketing are a few examples of the energy and enthusiasm he brought to the School.  
AND he also had a life ! A glider pilot, a published and successful author, a photographer and film maker, a seasoned ‘off the beaten track’ traveller who visited some of the most remote and far flung places on Earth, a volunteer hospital builder in Spiti valley - the wilderness between northern India and Tibet, a knowledgeable gardener, an art lover, an inventor and maker..... 
Stuart was not a man you could pigeonhole. He was a One Off. He will be remembered with great affection by many. He was a friend whom I will personally miss. He was a loyal and loving brother to his sister Jenny. 

Stuart's obituary is written by David Thompson, who took over from Stuart as Head of DT when Stuart retired from Ewell Castle School.

JOHN HAYWARD 1937 - 2019

Johnny as he was known by so many Ewellians from the 50’s entered the Castle’s gates as a pupil in September of 1947, just a couple of years after the end of WWII hostilities. Coupons were still in force for clothing, petrol and some foods, including sweets.  Mike Brunwin writes, “ We joined the school on the same day and found ourselves in Form III, seated next to each other.  As we moved up to higher forms, we stay seated together, escaping many fallouts with authority but painfully not all! Finally, we both made for the exit together after completing the Summer term in 1953.

John was a kind man, generous in both heart and spirit; instantly likeable with a rye sense of humour which probably explained his interest in wildly colourful American ties popular in the 50’s.”  After school days he completed his National Service in the RAF and became part of the group that helped revitalise the Old Ewellian Association after its reactivation following the war years.

A major figure in the OE’s Football team playing in the Sutton & District League with his permanent position at left back; I think the only “crack” his amiable approach to life was being faced with an opposition forward who invariably landed face down in the mud.  During the summer months he was a keen member of the OE’s Cricket Club which for many years played a full season of Saturday and Sunday fixtures. John, his lovely wife Jill and their two young children Michael & Dawn, became part of the group of OE’s who became life-long friends.

Sadly, Johnny passed away suddenly last year.  Deeply missed by Jill and her family - a gap has been also left in the hearts of many old friends.

OE Angus McLellan has contacted the School to let us know that his brother in law Old Ewellian Stephen William Charles Atterbury passed away on the 12th October aged 68.  Our condolences to Angus and all of Stephen's family.

It is with sadness that we report the passing of former pupil Alex Tague, who was taken from his family and friends far too young earlier this month.  Alex enjoyed many happy years as a pupil at Ewell Castle School (1994-2001), especially playing rugby and being involved in music.  He studied for his A Levels in the Sixth Form before going on to university and later a career in IT.  Alex's parents Celeste and Gerry have asked the School to share details of Alex's funeral arrangements with his School friends and former teachers, who are welcome to attend his funeral at 1.30pm on Monday 4th March at Croydon Crematorium, East Chapel, Mitcham Road, Croydon, CR9 3AT.  Please email Gerry at gerrytague@hotmaillcom if you would like to attend.

Sidney Postlethwaite passed away in Swanage aged 93 on 21st October 2018, where he had lived with his wife for over 30 years.  He attended Ewell Castle School between 1934-1941 and was called up during 1943 and joined the navy.  He was on the atlantic convoys and later on a convoy to Russia where his ship was torpedoed, he then went on to marry Eileen (1924-2017).  He worked for Shell Chemicals for 25 years and then lectured at Slough College before retiring to Swanage.  Sidney and Eileen had 5 children and lots of grand and great grand children, he will be missed by all of them.

Phil Sutton passed away 8th August 2018 after a long spell in hospital. Phil joined the School in 1974 after graduating from St Mark and St John College Plymouth where he met Claire, his future wife. Phil came to teach Games and History, the games staff consisted of Phil with the help of two part-timers, Peter Carnell, Mike Barrel and other members of staff who looked after teams for inter-school matches.

The main sports were football and cricket with squash and tennis also played as well as swimming. The sports facilities were more basic in the early days when most lessons occurred out of doors – whatever the weather – with the only changing rooms down in the cellar with a hot shower afterwards – if you were lucky and the hot water hadn’t run out. There was also the joy of all the House games as well as after school and the House cross-country runs in Nonsuch Park – what bliss! Phil was occasionally allowed to have a few PE lessons inside in the Castle Hall and his life changed when first he could do his favourite sport – rugby – when it was started at the instigation of Peter Knock when he came as Deputy Head in 1979. Then when the Sports Hall was built in 1990, he had sheer luxury, even though games were displaced when the Sports Hall was used for exams.

When Phil and Claire got married the “School bungalow”, a post-war prefab, at the bottom of the quad had become vacant so they spent about three years there before moving out. They were the last occupants of that “bungalow” and it was demolished shortly afterwards. During her career, Claire helped out the Ewell Castle School Science Department with several stints on the staff. Outside School, Phil and Claire were for a long time active members of the Ebbisham Squash and Tennis Club and its social scene. He was also very much a family man, he enjoyed his garden and summer holidays with Claire and his two daughters, Louise and Jenny which normally involved a trip to Cornwall. For many years Phil was an integral part of the quiz team, which comprised of Ewell Castle School staff and associates, at the King William Pub, also known as the second staff common room, where he showed his extensive knowledge helping to win many competitions.

Phil always had time to keep up with Old Boys whenever possible and his presence will be sorely missed. Phil Sutton’s funeral will take place at 12.30pm on Wednesday 26th September 2018 at Randalls Park Crematorium, Leatherhead and afterwards at Horton Park Golf Club from 2pm. Staff and former pupils who knew Phil are welcome to join Claire and the rest of his family at the service. Please email Carol Hernandez, at by Friday 14th September if you would like to attend, as she is co-ordinating numbers with Claire Sutton.

Mike came late to teaching following National Service and a spell working in Australia. In his first period at Ewell Castle he became senior master in the Woodwork and Technical Drawing Department, which would later become Design and Technology. He made a notable appearance in Reg Saunders’ first film of the School, commenting on a rather noisy lathe, which was nearing the end of its working life. He showed off his musical skills playing rhythm guitar at School performances and then on recordings of Peter Back’s productions. Mike left Ewell Castle School to teach at a school for more educationally challenged pupils, returning for his second period as second in department to Stuart Bland. In 1993 he retired, first living in Billingshurst in Sussex, then, latterly, in Chichester. He loved sailing and for many years shared a boat with another colleague, Patrick Chatterton.

Reg Saunders was educated at Sandown Grammar School and went up to Fitzwilliam College Cambridge to read Modern Languages. After graduating in 1946, he trained to be a teacher, continued to study languages and completed a Master of Education at Brunel University. He arrived at Ewell Castle School in 1968, taking over when R H (Pip) Pledger retired. R P F Saunders was appointed Head by the School Governors and given the formidable task of ‘changing the personality of the School’ and emphasising the ‘academic achievement of pupils’. Reg loved church music and was organist at St Mary’s Church, Ewell for many years. The breadth and variety of the School’s activities and the academic results that were achieved under his Headship are an eloquent testimony to his achievement. Reg Saunders retired at the end of 1982. In January 1983, he was succeeded as Headmaster by Ronald Fewtrell. (Source: Ewell Castle School, a short history by Chris Parsons).

We have just learnt of the sudden passing of former Director of Sport Simon Bell, who has died following a short illness in December. There will be a private funeral but his family have asked us to let former colleagues and pupils know that they are welcome to attend a memorial services at St Mark's Church, St Mark's Lane, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 5PU on 22nd February at 1.30pm.

Sadly Dominic was taken from his friends and family far too young and news of his tragic and premature death shocked those who read about the story. His funeral took place on Saturday 21st May 2016 at 10am, at St Paul's Church, Northey Avenue, Cheam, Surrey, SM2 7HS. The church was so full that many mourners had to stand outside the church.

It is with sadness that we report on the news that former stallwart of Ewell Castle School, Reg Beaumont, passed away early on December 29th following a brief stay at a nursing home near his home in Rochester. He had suffered from prostate cancer which quickly became more advanced. Reg taught Chemistry from 1974 – 1995 after two years teaching with the Voluntary Service Overseas in Ghana. He joined Ewell Castle School as a boarding master and was also, for a long time, Castlemaine Housemaster. He continued to remain in touch with 'Old Boys'nce they had left the school and will be remembered by many for his hospitality at the King William IV and the Spring in the village. After his move to Rochester, he regularly attended the Old Ewellians Reunion Sundays and continued to show a keen interest in the School right up until his recent illness.

Ron Brissenden attended Ewell Castle School from 1928, died recently on 21st December 2014 after a sudden illness. He was 97 years old. He last visited the School two years ago when he attended the summer reunion. He is survived by his daugher Anne.

TAT attended Ewell Castle School between 1937-1944 and after National Service in 1948, returned to the School as a Master in training. Along with Geoff Coles, TAT was probably one of the best known and liked members of staff. He played a major role in getting the OBA off the ground after the war years and it was his enthusiasm that helped create the OE football team. He loved jazz and introduced many to the joys of Glen Miller and Benny Goodman. After teaching at the school, he completed a degree and continued his career in teaching, eventually becoming Head Master of the Central Foundation School in London between 1973 and 1984.

Geoffrey Herbert Coles was born in May 1925 and at the age of nine entered Ewell Castle. When he retired from teaching in 1990 he had spent over fifty continuous years at the School apart for time away during WWII in the Fleet Air Arm. During his long connection with the School he became one of the most identifiable Castle characters for generations of Ewellians. When he returned from the services he represented for many the typical British hero - an amalgamation of W E John’s fighter pilot “Biggles” & Richard Chandos from Dornford Yates’s thriller novels. Always active and enthusiastic whether in his duties teaching maths and as Sports Master, or in spare time racing fast motor bikes and sports cars around the countryside on some new adventure. Whether in School or on the road his attire often remaining the same - sports jacket, grey flannels and polished shoes. He had a natural ability to engage people, together with an easy confidence which left everyone in no doubt that an instruction was not the start of a discussion. For most people his most memorable quality was his “can do’” attitude and belief that anything was possible if you are prepared to make the effort.

Together with two other members of staff, Guss Stamford & TAT Barnes both also former pupils, he was instrumental in reforming the Old Ewellians Association in 1948 & later establishing the Old Ewellians Football and Cricket Clubs. A life-long lover of music - particularly Jazz - he and TAT Barnes introduced many to the likes of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey & Glen Miller. After retirement he was a regular at many local & London Jazz Clubs. His love of Jazz was matched by his interest in squash and he could often be found at the Ebbersham Squash Club. In the 70’s he broke the Guinness World record by completing a 47 hr squash marathon. At the age of 86 in January 2012 Geoff Coles passed away. His funeral produced a very large gathering of family, friends, Old Ewellians & former colleagues who said farewell to the strains of Duke Ellington.

The following were Ewell Castle School alumni who lost their lives during World War II:

F/Sgt Pilot Richard Alderton RAFVR 10/07/1943 Trinidad

Basil Allen - No Record

John Arnold - No Record

Able Seaman Ronald Ayton RNVR H.M.S. Wakeful 29/05/1940 Chatham Memorial

F/Sgt Pilot Edward Rosslyn Budgell RAVFR 269 Sqn 07/12/1941 Fossvogur Cemy

Sgt Ronald Henry Burr RAFVR 218 Sqn 21/06/1941 Runnymede

Sqn/Ldr Pilot Patrick Russell Cooper RAFVR (Morden) 16/10/1943 Morden Cemy

2nd Lieu Bernard Rutherford Cushing RTR (RAC) 22/07/1942 El Alamein

Peter Delliere - No Record

Capt Gordon Baty Featherstone 9th Jat Regt 22/01/1942 Burma

Gunner Eric Hampson RA 136 Field Regt Massicault Cemy Tunisia

Sgt (David) Rex John RAFVR 621 Sqn 21/12/1944 El Alamein?

John Keighley - No Record

Lieut (Eugene) Clifford Laws East Yorks Regt 29/05/1942 El Alamein

F/Lieut Pilot John Peter Lintott RAFVR DFC 85 Sqn 09/07/1943 Banstead C/yard

Kenneth Moore - No Record

Arthur Newman - No Record

Capt Raymond Nickells RAC 7th Queen's Oen Hussars 08/07/1944 Ancona, Italy

App Edward William Oxspring MN MV Domala 02/03/1940 Tower Hill Memorial

Capt Denys Stafford Rowland RE 10/10/1945 Kranji Cemy, Singapore

F/O Pilot Walter Allen Skelton RAFVR 115 Sqn 28/08/1942 Reichswald Cemy

Lieut Peter Henri Talbot RAC Staffs Yeomanry 19/09/1943 Carshalton C/yard

P/O John Joseph Westwood RAFVR 04/05/1942 Morden Cemy

Parry Williams - No Record