Memories of John Hale

Memories of John Hale

The Schools’ Archivist, Mr James Buckman, shares the history of John Hale, Headmaster of Stamford School from 1997.

John Hale came from the Welsh mining town of Abertillery where he was educated at the local Grammar School before attending Welbeck College.  He later studied at Shrivenham where he gained a BSc in Civil Engineering.  He trained at Sandhurst and received a commission into the Royal Engineers.  John spent four years stationed in Cyprus where he was Squadron Second-in-Command responsible for administration.  He played hockey and cricket for his regiment, and was Army Squash Champion of Cyprus in 1967.  He also ran evening classes for Forces families and young soldiers – the experience of these classes inspired him to take up teaching after he left the Army.

John’s first teaching position was at Bedford School where he taught Mathematics and served as a Yearmaster and Boarding Housemaster.  Fifteen years later, he joined Stamford School to replace Bruce McKenzie as the Second Master.

Mr Hale found himself in the deep end during his first term at Stamford.  The then-Headmaster, Geoffrey Timm, was taken ill  and Mr Hale had to stand in.  When Mr Hale preached in the School Chapel on a Sunday morning, Mr Timm’s wife felt his sermon was too short.  However, it set the template for Mr Hale’s speeches at assembly.  He kept them nice and simple – ‘pupils lose interest if the assembly is overlong’.  It was upon the retirement of Mr Timm in 1997, that Mr Hale officially became Headmaster of Stamford School.

Mr Hale was often present at many school activities and events: chapel services, plays, concerts, musicals, DofE awards, CCF Inspections and Young Enterprise Awards.  “He believed rightly that those taking part valued the fact that he was there and could give some recognition of their involvement and achievement when next he saw them”.

Ever a rugby enthusiast, Mr Hale followed the School teams with great interest.  At the end of his Headmastership in 2000, the School went out to Canada – a country Mr Hale had always wished to visit ‘and it seems very fitting that the sport I love and the school I hold so many happy memories of can be the way I get to see Canada’.

Mr Hale was a real friend to many associated with the School – the basis of his leadership was always to form relationships with the staff and the pupils.

For more stories from the Stamford School archives, please click here.

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