The Old Pocklingtonian Old Pocklingtonian 2017-18 - Page 29

OBITUARIES & ANNOUNCEMENTS for ungracious behaviour. How times have changed! Throughout his life, he was known as being ‘such a gentleman’ and it seems that Pocklington was where the gentleman’s code was embedded. He left school to go on to university not long after the end of the war. It was there at Reading University that he met his wife, Pam. By all accounts university was a bit of a rave – a round of balls, sporting fixtures and socials with a few exams thrown in between. Having been head boy at Pocklington, he then became president of Wantage Hall at university, which no doubt brought with it some added status and privileges! James Gordon Watt (40-48), known as Gordon, was born in Scotland in Aberdeenshire, in 1929, to John and Jeanie Watt. He had an older brother, Jack. The family moved to Yorkshire when Gordon was quite young, and took up the tenancy of a farm in the village of Sledmere. That farm and surrounding area, is where the rest of the Watt family still reside, and the farm is now in to its fourth generation of Watt farmers. Gordon’s time at Pocklington School was very happy, which is evident by how much he talked about it. He claimed that he did not work very hard, but he threw himself in to sport and his love of cricket was born at the school. He recalled a time when he took a very good catch in a school match, taking himself and everyone else by surprise. He held the ball up in the air to celebrate, (no cheering or jumping up and down in those days!) and the next morning found himself in the headmaster’s office being reprimanded In 1951, at the tender age of 22, straight after graduating and getting married, Gordon and Pam took off to Uganda, to a post where Gordon was to manage a cattle farm, near Kampala and where their love of Africa began. They returned to England three years later, to farm there briefly. Their son, Neil, was born and then in 1958 they went back to Africa, to Kenya this time. Gordon was an agricultural advisor there, for a large animal feeds firm, firstly in Nakuru, where their daughter Susan was born in 1960, and then later in Nairobi. Gordon continued to play cricket as well as becoming involved in rally driving. Spending time in the game reserves was a regular occurrence, and the family felt very privileged to live so close to African wildlife. Gordon continued to spend holidays in the Kruger and other parks in South Africa until quite recently before his death. The family arrived in Cape Town in 1971. They lived in Pinelands, then Constantia, and in 1979 Gordon and Pam moved to Somerset West. Gordon took up golf and this became a central part of his life and social circle; he valued his golfing friends very much. After Pam died, Gordon moved to a retirement village. He felt the loneliness of being a widower very strongly, and it was not that long before he got together with Brenda Opie, who had been a family friend back in Kenya. Her sudden and unexpected TRIBUTES? Please send death notices & obituaries to Rachel in the OP office darer@pocklingtonschool.com death was a great shock, and the bereavement felt from his son Neil’s death not long before, had a deep effect on him, despite his outward resilience. A huge part of his healing and going forward was due Margaret, his friend, companion and much loved partner for the last 5 years. Although Gordon lived in Africa for most of his adult life, the influence of his formative years, growing up and going to school in Yorkshire stayed with him. In Skype and telephone conversations with his family, his Yorkshire accent would reappear. He was often teased about how typically Yorkshire he was in terms of his management of the purse strings – but although he took care of his money, he was an extremely generous man, digging one of the family out of a tricky financial hole on occasion or just suddenly insisting on paying for a family holiday. Pocklington School also remained close to his heart. When he heard the school rugby teams were on tour to South Africa in 2015, he jumped at the chance to go and cheer on his old school at one of the fixtures in Cape Town, meeting up with staff, pupils and OPs from across the generations. (Susan Ellis, née Watt) ANNOUNCEMENTS AND NOTICES ENGAGEMENTS BIRTHS Jodie Hill (00-06) to Andy Procter Vikram Hawksley (02-07) and Sarah Stapleton, a daughter, Kaia Maree, June 2018. Rob Sullivan (02-13) to Anna Strain. Stuart Wilkie (96-01) to Nicola Pye. Simon Hornby (01-06) and Katie Trever, a daughter, Pippa Marie, April 2018. Sean Houltham (Former Staff, 06-17) and Leanne, a son, Beau Ellias, November 2017, a brother for Harley. Hannah Lyth (née Readman, 06-08) and John, a daughter, Georgina Rose, January 2018. Robert Milne (88-95) and Arabella, a son, Arthur William Peter, April 2018. Beth Milner (née Allen, 94-01) and Iain, a daughter, Thea Isabelle, July 2017. Dan Wilson (94-01) and Heather, a son, Austin (Ozzy) James, November 2017, a brother for Ralph. Please contact the OP office if you would like to include an announcement in the next issue of The Old Pocklingtonian. 29