IT WAS with great sadness that I heard of the death of the former and “great” headmaster of Brooklands School – David Ashton. I, in common with many other Brooklands School pupils owe Mr Ashton a huge thank-you.
I was only at the school for three years but those three years set me up for the rest of my life and much of what I achieve is due to the foundations laid by David and his excellent teaching team.
Indeed they transformed me from being an average student academically to the point, when I went on to secondary school, I was two years ahead of those around me. However it is the confidence he inspired in me, the ability to debate and stand up for what is right and to make a Brooklander into an all rounder ready for adult life that is the real trademark David left.
My love of sport, history and the spoken word, combined with a drive to succeed is down to David and his visionary leadership.
In 2001 I was lucky enough to gain a Nuffield Farming Scholarship. There are only 20 given out in the UK each year and it is rare to find people from the same county in the same year group.
Imagine my surprise when I found that Mike Madders and Roland Tavernor had also gained scholarships that year. Incredibly we were all at Brooklands together in the early 70s and unbeknown to each other had all successfully applied for a Scholarship at the same time.
This was a first for Nuffield and any school, something that will, I suspect, never be repeated.
The decline of Brooklands in recent years after David Ashton’s retirement leading to its recent closure shows just how good he was.
Now I hope my children are gaining from the values instilled in me and no doubt Gill, Hugh and Christine at this time of great sadness will see the mark David has left when they see former Brooklands pupils and their next generation in everyday life.
William E Young
Brooklands School 1971-1974