Simon Richards (1960-2014)

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John Saunders
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Simon Richards (1960-2014)

Postby John Saunders » Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:54 pm

My attention was drawn to this sad news in the Guardian...

[Link no longer works so I've rescued the text from webcache...]

Jamie Brosch, The Guardian, Thursday 26 June 2014 13.36 EDT wrote:My friend Simon Richards, who has died aged 54 after living with kidney cancer for 10 years, always maintained an impressive balance of openness and realism about his condition. He never allowed it to interfere with his appetite for life; his only persistent regret – apart from the impact of his illness on his family – was that it prevented him from becoming a head teacher, a role in which he would doubtless have excelled. He was deputy head at Gosforth Academy, Newcastle upon Tyne, where he had worked since 2001.

Simon's strong sense of social justice drove him towards a career in teaching, and it was a given that he would work within the state sector. He taught at Audenshaw high school, Manchester, from 1989, becoming head of history and subsequently head of sixth form, before joining Gosforth Academy. Even when we first met, as undergraduates, it was obvious to me that he was teacher material. As well as his enthusiasm and passion for history, the fact that he was not a natural academic and had to work hard for his achievements made him even more effective as a teacher and pupil advocate.

Simon was born in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. His father, Hugh, was an electrical engineer and his mother, Babs, was an art teacher. He was educated at the Royal Grammar school, High Wycombe, and at Queens' College, Cambridge, before he went on to do a PGCE at Liverpool University.

For three decades he dragged me up mountains and across continents; I owe much of my love of travel and the outdoors to those early trips. He met his future wife Jane at my house – she was an old friend of mine from medical school – and I was their best man when they married in 1991. He continued to share his passion for walking, mountaineering and cycling with friends and family throughout his life.

Simon was a lover of film, and had an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject that he was keen to share with others, hosting the local film club at St Oswald's hospice, Gosforth, when he became too unwell to entertain at home.

Simon is survived by Jane and their two sons, Ben and William.


Simon Richards attended the RGS before going up to Queens' College, Cambridge, and then doing a PGCE at Liverpool University. He taught at Audenshaw High school, Manchester, from 1989, becoming head of history and subsequently head of sixth form, before joining Gosforth Academy, Newcastle upon Tyne, in 2001 as deputy head.

Condolences to his wife Jane and their two sons, Ben and William.
John Saunders
RGS 1963-70 (personal website http://www.saund.co.uk)