Monday, 12 February 2024

We are sad to announce the death of long-serving member of the teaching staff, Richard Wolley (CR. 1968-88).

Richard Wolley joined the Common Room in the summer of 1968, when he left Cranleigh School to become the new Head of the Chemistry Department.

During his twenty years at Brighton College, Richard served as a kind and influential figure, a skilled teacher, and a respected colleague. His impact extended across various facets of school life, with few areas untouched by his considerable influence.

Richard's early days at the College were marked by his commitment to spreading his talents and time across diverse pursuits. His involvement and coaching skills benefited the rugby, hockey, and cricket teams, among other. However, Richard was more than just a coach; he was a mentor who found encouraging words even in the most challenging situations. His philosophy was centred on the idea that each individual should give their best and find pleasure in doing so.

Richard's belief that games should be fun was evident in his own approach to playing them. A versatile sportsman, he excelled as a medium-pace bowler and a cavalier hitter of the ball. His achievements, including winning a Crusaders' cap at Cambridge with a memorable eighty-one against the Eastbourne Eclectics, showcased his love for cricket.

Rather predictably, Richard's kind and caring nature led him to become a Housemaster, finding a ready challenge for his talents in Durnford. In this role he continued to encourage, listen, and offer wise counsel, leaving a lasting impact on the boys of that time. Many boys who spent their days on the first floor of the Dawson building in the seventies owe much of their character and friendliness to Richard and his wife, Eileen, who also taught at the College in the 1980s.

With the assistance of the rest of the Chemistry Department, and by implementing some no-nonsense methods, Richard significantly advanced the teaching of Chemistry at Brighton College. He played a key role in building-up the Science Department’s reputation, which was significantly stronger by the 1980s. Richard's teaching prowess extended to students of varying abilities, showcasing his unwavering sympathy and understanding.

Given his remarkable personal qualities, it was not surprising when Richard decided to leave Brighton College in 1988 in order to enter the priesthood, and later moved into parish work. His deeply held beliefs, spiritual steadfastness, and complete acceptance of God's word were complemented by a formidable arsenal of human virtues.

Perhaps the greatest testament to his character was made around the time he left Brighton College, that no one could recall hearing anyone speak ill of Richard. This tribute encapsulates the essence of the man – a colleague whose human good nature and kindly affection for his fellow man set him apart.

At his final assembly in the Great Hall, it became abundantly clear that Richard was held in warm affection by his last generation of pupils.

Richard’s wife, Eileen, sadly passed away in February 2015. His legacy of warmth, wisdom, and kindness will continue to resonate within the Brighton College community.

Elizabeth Blackshaw writes:

The Reverend Richard Wolley was already at Brighton College when Bill and I arrived in 1971. He played a major part in the running of the School as Head of Chemistry, Housemaster of Durnford, a member of the CCF and a strong supporter of the School Chapel.

In his memoirs, Bill describes him as a kindly, thoughtful, and hardworking schoolmaster. He was missed when he left the College to join the Church of England as a full-time minister but undoubtedly the College’s loss was the Church of England’s gain. He will be remembered with respect and affection by many pupils, and by former members of staff and their families to whom he was a great friend.

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