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Old Warwickians

Terence Tookey (WS Staff 1958-63)

In the Junior Boarding House Notes of Autumn 1963, the housemaster, Felix Dugdale, wrote: "It was a fortunate day for the house when Mr Tookey agreed to throw in his lot with us. For nearly three years he has directed his energy and his many talents to the service of the House, and we are indebted to him not only for his untiring and successful efforts in training various House teams, but also for his smooth efficiency in organisation.  His service with a smile will be greatly missed."

He is recorded as playing the elusive cuckoo in Haydn's Toy Symphony in the 1962 Summer Concert.

The friendships he made at Warwick (with David Payne, Ken Freeborn, Gerry Bousfield, Roger Usherwood, Barry Young and John Dight, to name just a few) were important to him, and it was a great joy to him to meet some of them at a couple of recent staff reunions.

While he was at Warwick, TNT met Penelope Sorensen, who was appointed in April 1960 as assistant matron to Ros Fulford; they were married in August 1963.

TNT left Warwick that summer, aged 32, for a post at St Chad's College, Denstone, part of the Woodard Corporation of schools. He served as Head of the English Department at Denstone between 1963 and 1988, as a Housemaster between 1967 and 1976, and as Second Master from 1976 until his retirement in 1993. 

In retirement, he also returned to teaching, holding temporary posts at Gordonstoun School, in 1994 and 1995-1996, and acted as vetter of examination papers at second proof stage for the Cambridge University Local Examinations Syndicate from 1993 to 2007.

At his funeral service on 29th October 2010, he was remembered as sweet-natured, with a firm moral core and the courage to face and communicate unpalatable truths, entirely trustworthy and discreet, an enthusiast, an encourager, a comforter, an admirer of the achievements of others, a lover of the comedy of life, whose mirthfulness was never unkind.

TNT regarded all his experiences, as a pupil at Wanstead County High School, Essex in the 1940s, as an Oxford undergraduate (Christ Church 1950-1953), during National Service at RAF Waterbeach (1953-1955), and all his teaching posts with great enjoyment, and with an impressive ability to recollect the pupils whom he taught over a 40-year career beginning at Great Yarmouth Grammar School in 1956 and ending with Gordonstoun School in 1996.

His whole life and his complete commitment to his work, his colleagues and his pupils reflected the example of his parents, who generously, and with a lighthearted touch which he inherited, gave their time and their talents to charitable causes and to the benefit of the communities in which they lived. 

The reunions for past Warwick staff meant an immeasurable amount to TNT. He gained from these events not merely the enjoyment of sharing happy recollections with his contemporaries but, just as importantly, the stimulation of seeing the remarkable developments at Warwick since he had left in 1963; though he valued the past, he was never sentimental about it, and his interest in the present and the future never waned.

TNT showed exemplary patience and fortitude in the final months of his suffering from cancer. He is survived by his widow, Penelope, by his only daughter, Fenella, and two grandchildren, Thomas and Imogen.

Fenella Tookey