DEATHS AND OBITUARIES
to the fore in his schooldays . The annals of ‘ The Alternative Old Pocklingtonian Bulletin ’ are packed with fond reminiscences from his associates .
A degree in classics at Oxford followed where he was held in equal esteem by his peers . There were some who felt he should have become a rugby blue ; but his style did not suit the university authorities , so he decamped to Stow on the Wold RUFC where he had family connections . The lasting effect the fun and friendship he brought to others in his student years is shown by one of his fellow Jesus College alumni recently creating a bursary in his memory – ‘ The Tim Slater Internship Award ’ now a permanent memorial at Oxford .
Tim was renowned and regarded in so many fields , but was particularly active at Pocklington rugby club , where he followed in the footsteps from West Green to Percy Road of his father , Pip , and uncle , AE ‘ Jim ’ Hessle , while still at school . In his six decades at the club Tim was a one off – an outstanding player from the mid-1960s to early 1980s , who also held numerous committee positions up to and including Chairman and being a great Club President , 2005- 2013 ; plus a talented entertainer who organised a series of memorable club tours and events . But more than that , Tim was simply the biggest character in the history of Pocklington rugby .
After being an even-time teenage flying machine , he changed modes and shape in the early 1970s to become a wing that ran over opponents instead of past them . He remained a prolific first team try scorer and useful toe-end reserve goal kicker for another decade , then continued as an inside back in the lower teams until arthritis finally got the better of him .
From his earliest days at Percy Road he was organising and entertaining for club and town . He was compiler and quizmaster of Pocklington ’ s first quiz nights , he conceived Pocklington ’ s first public barbecue ( over 2,000 people attended ), and a whole series of other memorable social occasions followed , including a unique ‘ Riverboat Shuffle ’ up and down the estuary on the Humber ferry . A talented impromptu pianist , he led the singing in the clubhouse and also wowed audiences across Europe with his jazz , blues and rock ‘ n roll renditions . His erudite match reports in local newspapers , often with Latin quotes or passages from the classics , were stuff of legend – a typical opening : “ Strabo tells us the partridges in Paphlagonia have two hearts , and judging by the performance of the Pocklington pack on Saturday they are not the only beings to possess such phenomena .”
But he was both exceptionally creative and highly organised , performing further valuable service as club statistician and membership secretary . For 30 years his wit shone through as the Pock 7s announcer and commentator on Good Friday , and as the MC at club dinners ; while as half of ‘ Les Deux Tims ’ he led Pocklington on a series of outstanding and meticulously planned club tours to France and beyond .
While Pocklington rugby club was such a big part of his life , he had a wide range of other sports , interests and skills including being a Yorkshire dialect poet , crossword compiler , Francophile , and expert in literature , ornithology , horticulture , gastronomy , travel , ancient history and country pursuits . He was an active Old Pocklingtonian and remained in contact with many from his schooldays . Working for over 30 years as a surveyor at York with British Rail and associated companies , again , he was revered by his colleagues for his unorthodox contributions in and out of work .
Tim was also a devoted family man , who became as big an institution at Wressle as Pocklington from the mid-1970s onwards . With usual creative invention , he brought together his two domains – rugby club and village – every summer for the Wressle Mile race as his offering to the church fete at the end of the day .
Tim had suffered an increasingly debilitating illness for several years , which was both steadfastly borne and expertly tended . Thoughts go out to his wife Jane , whose care and dedication to the last was incredible , and to daughter Suzy ( 93-95 ) and son Robbie ( 88-98 ), who also followed him in wearing a Pocklington winger ’ s shirt .
Coronavirus put paid to a public funeral , which had to be restricted to immediate family on 11 May at Wressle . However , Pocklington rugby club organised a virtual tribute by asking friends to join the family in spirit on the day , toast his memory in club shirt or tie , then contribute a photograph . Some 190 selfies of people ‘ Raising a glass to Tim ’ were received . Typically , Tim left detailed plans for his passing and a memorial service will be held at some future date .
Tim Slater will be much missed , never forgotten and never replaced .
( Phil Gilbank , 67-74 )
Nigel Thackrah ( 58-63 ) died on 9 December 2019 in Derbyshire aged 74 . After leaving Pocklington he studied Chemical Engineering and held a number of posts in the Chemical Industry and , before his retirement , was Health & Safety Manager for a large industrial factory . He always led a very active outdoor life , particularly rock climbing and walking . He lived in the Peak District where he honed his rock-climbing skills but spent much of his spare time in Scotland . He climbed all 282 “ Munros ”, that is those Scottish summits over 3,000 feet high , and also recorded many lesser mountains such as 222 “ Corbetts ”, 149 “ Grahams ” and 802 “ Marilyns ”. He completed many long-distance walks , The Pennine Way , The Thames Path , Coast to Coast , Offa ’ s Dyke , The Lyke Wake Walk and many more . He also ran 7 marathons , 12 half marathons and cycled from John o ’ Groats to Lands ’ End . Further afield he had climbed or walked in USA , Nepal , Corsica , the Dolomites , Pyrenees and Alps . For many years he was a volunteer Park Ranger in the Peak District National Park and an active member of Kinder Mountain Rescue Team . Fellow team members were always impressed by his map reading skills which he put down to early training in the CCF . More prosaically , he helped run a community hydro-electric scheme which often seemed to involve standing chest deep in the River Goyt clearing the filters of fallen debris .
( Ray Thackrah , 60-64 )
Squadron Leader Clive Walker . I remember Clive from my very first day as a “ new bug ” at Lyndhurst . A fellow forces child he took me under his wing introducing me to the arcane ways of the traditional public school that Pocklington then was . I learnt “ quis and ego ”, disguising your house tie around the ball when spin bowling , and many other rituals . We later found ourselves together in the front row where he was a crafty hooker and in the hobby hut first making model aeroplanes but later polishing red and green perimeter lights liberated from the wartime base that turned out to be too heavy to make the trunk home . After leaving school Clive indeed joined the Air Force becoming an officer and a pilot like his brothers but later commanding a strategic interception defence base . He also worked internationally including in the Hong Kong police and in South Africa , the USA and Oman . Returning to England he settled down to fishing , gun dogs , a more rural family life and an all too short retirement in Northumberland . We will remember him as adventurous , cheerful and kind . Our thoughts are with his wife Wendy and three children , Ryan , Hannah and Will .
( Fraser Whitehead 62-69 )
Please send death notices & obituaries to Rachel in the OP office
darer @ pocklingtonschool . com