We regret to inform you that The Revd Hugh Cocksedge died on Thursday 14th January.

His wife, Marjorie, has mentioned that all ODs / Former Staff that would like to attend his funeral are most welcome.

The funeral is to take place on 13th February at 2.30pm at St Peter’s Church in Petersfield (The Square, Petersfield GU32 3HS). Tea and cake afterwards in the Parish Hall.

As you can see from below, Hugh had a major influence on Dean Close in the 12 years that he was here. Most notably for his work as a Housemaster in Gate and for his work with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Our thoughts will be with him as we celebrate with Old Decanians and Current Pupils…60 years of the DofE Awards….at a dinner at Dean Close on the 27th February.

The Revd. Hugh Cocksedge….

Hugh was born in 1926. He went to Magdalene College, Cambridge, to read Mechanical Science and graduated in 1950. He came to Dean Close School in September 1958 having earlier briefly been an RAF officer and also taught at King’s Taunton. He was appointed to be in charge of the School ‘Mechanical Workshops’. He was described by a Dean Close School colleague, Rod Pentycross, as ‘…an uncompromising Christian,’ and a person of ‘modesty and calm efficiency.’’ He was appointed Housemaster of Gate House in September 1966 until his departure four years later. He and his wife were noted for their ‘hospitality and thoughtfulness’.

He was heavily involved with the CCF. He revived the RAF section as a Flight Lieutenant and was especially noted for his organization of camps, whether Dartmoor or Summer, as well as assistance in Arduous Training Camps. He also organized, with his wife, camps for Yearlings

With the School Chaplain, the Revd R. W. Hallett, he was the joint initiator of the Social Service activity among the boys.

Apart from his Housemastership of Gate House, arguably his greatest contribution to the life of the School was his introduction of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. He was one of its earliest enthusiasts before he arrived at the School, having been trained by Sir John Hunt of Mount Everest fame. He was instrumental in Dean Close School becoming one of the Duke of Edinburgh scheme’s experimental units. Up to that point, Dean Close School had always inculcated into its alumni the importance of team games and the mind-set that flows from that. Hugh maintained that there was also a place for individual effort and development. He was supported throughout by the Headmaster of the day, the Revd Douglas Graham, although some senior members of staff took a dim view. Any reference to the Duke of Edinburgh scheme was edited out of the school’s first history, written by R. F. McNeile, in 1966. Nevertheless, Hugh persisted and was able to see three quarters of the school involved in Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards before he left, 60% achieving Bronze Awards. The Scheme has continued ever since and well over 200 Gold Awards have been achieved by Decanians to date.

Hugh left in 1970 to become warden-in-charge of a Fulham Church of England Comprehensive School educational centre near Wisbech in Cambridgeshire.

Hugh entered the Church initially as a non-stipendiary clergyman in 1988. However, he later became Chaplain to the Anglian community in Ankara, Turkey, 1991 – 1996. He retired in 1996 but continued to take services. He lived near Alton, Hampshire. He died on 14th January 2016.

C E Whitney

Below is a picture of Hugh surrounded byODs from 1967-75 at their annual catch up!
Back Row:
Tony Ayres (T 75), Nigel Hemming (B 75), Stephen Oxlade (C 72), Hugh Cocksedge (Master in charge of setting up D of E at DCS), Chris Wigley (C 72), Steve Shaw (T 72), Tess Shaw (nee Ford) (M 72)
Front Row:
Peter Ward (C 70), Mike Motum (C 72), Tony Godfrey (C 72) and Chris Davidge (B 72).

Below a picture of Hugh on an expedition from the Decanian magazine (Shortly after he arrived at DCS).