Obituary: Brian Idris Evans

Brian Idris Evans
(OC 1942-1952)

Born 27 July 1934, died 18 January 2021

As the son of a congregational minister serving in London during the war years it was felt that he would be safer in the country at Caterham. At the age of eight in 1942 he entered the preparatory school and until he left at 18 to go to Oxford, he was incredibly happy. The school at that time was small with just 400 boys and in 1944 became a direct grant school. He described the school regime as more humane than in many boarding schools and Brian had affectionate memories of many of the staff.

Academically Brian did well and particularly enjoyed the arts subjects, passing his School Certificate exams and going on to study English, History, French and Latin at AL.

In his autobiography however he describes academic work as a tiresome interruption in the playing of team games – particularly hockey and cricket, a lifelong passion at which he excelled.

Brian was a natural leader and became Senior Prefect in his final year. The prize he always coveted however was cricket captain!  His headmaster, in commending him for a teaching post, described him as a student who was an outstanding influence for good.

He went on to study History at Jesus College Oxford. His children Paul and Catherine would follow in his footsteps and also study there.

In his career he was a school teacher and eventually a headmaster, firstly of a grammar school, Crossley and Porter school, in Halifax and then a large comprehensive school, Honley High School, near Huddersfield. The characteristics which had made him a successful pupil were reflected in the response he recieved from his staff. Many remember him years later as a wonderful headmaster, compassionate, interested in pupils and staff alike, with a great sense of humour and seeking the good of all. His Christian faith was always the guiding force in his work.

In retirement he became the Synod Clerk of the United Reformed Church in Yorkshire and continued to preach in local churches. In addition to this preaching, he filled many roles in the URC nationally including the assessment of candidates for the ministry.

Brian was an old boy who kept in touch with the school and in the early 70s he was invited back to speak at Speech Day along with his wife Pat and two small children. They enjoyed a weekend in the home of the headmaster Stephen Smith and his wife Helen. He enjoyed this visit enormously.

Brian was unfailing in describing his affection for his years at Caterham and the school was clearly very influential in his early life, helping him to develop into the fine adult he became. He will be greatly missed by his wife, children and five grandchildren as well as his many loyal friends.

Written by his wife, Pat Evans