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THE OD

26

OBITUARIES

Former Staff Obituaries

Ruth Escritt (1958-84)

Ruth, one of six children, was born in East

Sheen in 1920. Said to have been ‘scrawny

and yelling’, by her own account she must

have been a spirited, mischievous if very

attractive young lady.

She attended Richmond County School,

Altrincham High School and then Howells

in North Wales before meeting her husband

Ewart, beagling. They married in 1939 and

moved to Oxford in 1948 when Ewart was

appointed Secretary to the then Oxford

University Appointments Board (‘The Job

Shop’). Asked to step in on a temporary

basis, Ruth resumed her teaching career

at the Dragon in ‘The Baby School’ under

Betty Barrett.

Then, there was no facility for day

children to have lunch. Ruth immediately set

about organising Baby School lunches at the

Ewarts’ nearby home, providing a meal and

reading them a story before afternoon school.

During the 1970s she taught full time in

E Block, where her brilliance as a teacher

became recognised. Ruth was ahead of her

time in exploring new methods of teaching,

whether using rods for maths or developing

her much praised field study T

he Dragon and

its Neighbours

. For many years E Blockers

started their Dragon career orientating

themselves with the Dragon History she had

also compiled.

Ruth wore many hats: she ran the tuck

shop, organised lost property and kept an

eye on the junior changing rooms. She never

could fathom how boys came back from

swimming in the Cherwell without their

underpants, socks or even shoes. She retired

from full time teaching in 1984 before

running the Museum for many years.

Patrick Lepper (OD 1954)

Patrick Lepper was a day boy shortly after

WWII. Classics was in his blood; his father

Frank was an Ancient History don at Corpus.

After Marlborough, Patrick was taught

by Katherine Whitehorn’s father and won a

scholarship to read Greats at New College.

Tom Stanier (OD 1954) remembered Patrick

being warmly greeted in Merton Street by the

Olympian Professor Edward Frankel, who

bestrode the Oxford classical world like a

Colossus. “Ah, Patrick, dear boy. How are you?”

Frankel would begin in his unmistakeable

Viennese accent and an easy conversation

between the two would follow.

Patrick had a lifelong passion for railways,

which remained unabated; after graduating,

he joined the British Rail management team.

In later years Patrick raised thousands for

charity through annual lengthy sponsored

bike rides. It was only shortly after his last he

was found to be seriously ill with cancer. He

is survived by his wife, daughter, son and four

grandchildren.

A full obituary is available on the Dragon

School website.

Patrick Lepper; died 25 April, 2015

Andrew Whiteley (OD 1960)

Born in Birmingham in 1947, the son of DEH

Whiteley, chaplain of Jesus College, Oxford,

Andrew was a great chess player, arriving at

the Dragon in 1961 having already played for

the county and City of Oxford chess teams

for two years. He later represented Britain in

a variety of tournaments overseas, including

the world student team championship

in Czechoslovakia in 1967, in which he

triumphed over his Soviet opponent and was

swept through the hall on the shoulders of

the other teams. The British Chess Federation

team took bronze, the best British result in

the competition’s history until then.

Andrew was part of the BCF team at the

Olympiads of Siegen (1970), Skopje (1972)

and Nice (1974) and was instrumental in

winning the team gold medal for the BCF

in the Clare Benedict Western European

Tournament in Minorca, also in 1974. In

1985 he won the Brighton International with

an overwhelming score of 8.5 points from a

possible 9, outdistancing a future grandmaster

and representatives from the USA and Canada.

Andrew was a solicitor before giving up the

law to play and write about chess and organise

chess events. David J F A Longrigg (Dragon

staff 1963-88), explained: “Andrew gave me

good advice for my book

Collins Gem Chess

(1994); this was usually over a pint or two at

the King’s Head in Bayswater. Andrew was

kind enough to proof-read that compilation

for me. We are proud that an OD has

contributed so much to the chess world.”

For a full obituary please see

The Times

,

19 July 2014.

Andrew Whiteley; born June 1947,

died 7 July 2014

Clive Hunt OD 1964

Clive Hunt was a marine engineer whose

40-year career in fast ferries took him all

over the world. A talented and committed

mechanic, he will be best remembered for

his work with hovercrafts.

Clive left the Dragon in 1964, following

his brothers, Julian and Simon, to

Westminster before emigrating to Canada

at 18. After trying a variety of jobs, a chance

meeting led to an offer of work chartering

yachts from America to the Caribbean,

setting him on a path from which he

never deviated. As technical manager

for Hoverspeed in the 1980s, his great

achievement was to keep the ageing SR.N4

hovercrafts running safely in the competitive

Dover-Calais cross-Channel market.

Clive was also a member of the crew who

delivered the first of the new wave-piercing

catamarans, the

Hoverspeed Great Britain

,

from Tasmania. This voyage set a new

record for the fastest eastbound transatlantic

journey and the lifting of the Hales trophy.

Hoverspeed folded in 2005 and Clive

found work running the fast ferries on the

Thames, where he stayed until 2014. Latterly

he was closely involved in the design of a

new ferry which will be named after him.

Clive Hunt; born 12 July 1951,

died 6 April 2015