The Ex-Chippy School Pages


Ex-Chippy home

Updated September 12, 2013

This page carries details of the lives of people connected with Chipping Norton School who are no longer with us. Details on this page may be provided by family or close friends. If you wish to add a person to this page please contact me by email. All requests will be carefully considered in order to prevent abuse. For the same reason there is no online submission form on this page, contact must be by email. We request that only those who knew the person well should provide details.

Timothy Balfour
Robert Evans
Anna Nockels
Arthur Nockels
Chris Pittaway
John Thompson

Timothy Balfour (Chipping Norton pupil 1962-1967)

Tim lived in Fordham, Cambridgeshire, with his wife Linda. He had two children, Terry and Sarah, and two grandchildren, Nathan and David. He worked as a lorry driver both in England and abroad. Tim spent all his life in Chippy until he met his wife Linda. They moved to Banbury upon their marriage and moved on to live in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk before settling in Fordham. Tim had been suffering from an undiagnosed condition for some years which was not discovered in time, and sadly died on Easter Sunday, April 12th, 2009, aged 58.The burial service took place at St. Peter and St. Mary Magdalene Church in Fordham on Thursday 30th April 2009. 

Tim loved his time at Chippy school and often reminisced about it. He was a popular pupil as he was in later life when he had many friends. His sisters Penny, Tricia, Gill and Della also attended Chipping Norton School. He is greatly missed by his family in Chippy and Fordham.

Robert Llewelyn Evans 1949-2013 (History teacher 1973-1977)

Rob was brought up in Bala in North Wales, the son of a baker. He was an only child. Rob's first language was Welsh but he attended boarding school in England (Oswestry School - Shropshire) .

Rob's mother died when he was a teenager and his father subsequently remarried. Rob loved his step-mother dearly and through her acquired a coterie of cousins who were all very dear to his heart.

Rob read history at Edinburgh University before training as a teacher in Bristol. He taught history at Chipping Norton School and then at North Oxford College of Further Education and, after retiring from North Oxford College in 2002, he worked as a tutor for the Open University and as an exam marker.

Rob loved all things Welsh (from rugby to poetry) and was a frequent visitor to the annual Eisteddfod - his last Eisteddfod being in 2013.

Rob also loved theatre and music. In his earlier days in Chipping Norton he took part in local amateur dramatic performances and as a boy at school he formed the Mozart Society and arranged visits to concerts for other students. In Chipping Norton he sang with the Choral Society and attended concerts henever he could - both locally and in London and Birmingham.

Rob joined the Labour Party in 1977 as a result of what he described as "a passionate belief in social justice". He was active in all local, national and European campaigns from 1977 to his death and in August 2013 he was awarded the Labour Party Merit Award "in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding service to the Labour Party" .

Rob loved Chipping Norton (even though it wasn't in Wales). He was a town councillor from 1983 to 2011; a county councillor from 1997 to 2005; a district councillor from May 2012 and Mayor from 1995 to 1996. But it wasn't just politics! He was a hard-working governor of several local schools; a trustee of the ACE Centre; a trustee of the Theatre; founder and chair of the local branch of Save the Children and a founder member of FROTH (Friends of the Town Hall) where he helped raise over £18,000 in only a very short period of time. He was also one of the instigators of the Chippy Clean Up campaign and for all of his outstanding work for Chipping Norton he was made an Honorary Citizen of Chipping Norton in August 2013.


Anna Nockels (wife of Headmaster Arthur Nockels)

Anna was a farmer's daughter, the youngest of three sisters, born Anna Vaughan, in 1918 in the little village of Llyswen in Breconshire, on the upper reaches of the River Wye. After Llyswen Elementary School, she went to the County (Grammar) School at Builth Wells, which involved a daily two-mile walk to the station to catch the train up the Wye Valley to Builth Wells. Her father had had experience of the wider world: earlier in his life he had emigrated to America, where Anna's eldest sister was born, but later returned to his Welsh roots. He was for some time churchwarden of the parish church of St. Gwendolen in Llyswen, in the Church in Wales. Anna never lost her childhood love of Wales, and returned there regularly. She enjoyed Welsh singing, especially that of Aled Jones and Bryn Terfel, and the great Welsh hymns like Cwm Rhondda; she supported the Welsh Rugby team, and she always commemorated St David's Day with daffodils.

When the Second World War began, Anna joined the staff of the Gloucester General Hospital as a trainee nurse, and so it was while she was working there in 1943 that she met Arthur Nockels who was serving in Gloucester with the Friends' Ambulance Unit. They were married the next year, in October 1944, sixty years ago, in the Presbyterian Chapel at Llyswen. Anna was not allowed to become a State Registered Nurse, which was for the unmarried only, but in due course became a State Enrolled Nurse. Despite the great differences in their background, for Arthur came from seafaring folk in the north, Anna fitted in excellently with her husband's family.

After the war, when Arthur was back in Oxford, Anna joined the staff of the Cowley Road Hospital, and then continued to pursue her nursing vocation in Leicester, working for five years, first in a mental hospital, and then in a Day Centre for retarded children. Her two children, David and Rosamund, were born in 1953 and 1955, but Anna was soon able to return to working with Children with Special Needs in Swindon, and then helping in Primary Education at Weston-super-Mare.
When Arthur was appointed Head of Chipping Norton School, Anna became actively involved in the life and work of the school, supporting him by being present on every occasion in her role as headmaster's wife, and by meeting the children, staff, parents and Governors. There was no 'side' to Anna: she had a special gift for setting everyone at ease by taking a personal interest.

Outside school, Anna had a very busy life. She continued her interest amongst deprived children by working with Robert Evans for Save the Children Fund, and for many years as a Governor of Penhurst National Children's Home, where she ran the cake stall at their annual fete. She and Arthur greatly valued the friendship and support that they have received from Mike and Mac Cockburn.

She was passionately fond of Vienna and of the music of Mozart. She enjoyed the theatre, and she and Arthur were Friends of the Stratford Theatre. From the start, she loyally supported Chipping Norton Theatre and her family recall with pleasure their visits with her to the Oxford Playhouse. Like Arthur, she enjoyed a game of golf, followed the financial market intelligently, and kept up to date with current affairs.

Whatever she attempted, she pursued with great determination. She did not learn to drive until her middle age, and then, very understandably, found it a challenge. But when at last she succeeded in passing her driving test, the sense of freedom gave her great pleasure.

She was a wonderful mother and grandmother. Her son, David, is married to Hilary, a G.P. in Beaconsfield, and now flies helicopters for the Metropolitan Police. Her daughter, Rosamund is married to Bryan, a genetic toxicologist with Glaxo, and has three children, Rebecca, Jessica and Hannah, all of whom she loved dearly.
Anna had two operations for breast cancer, one before, and one after, the massive stroke eleven years ago that so severely limited her activities. She never regained the use of her left arm, and found it hard to concentrate for prolonged periods. Sadly, she could no longer read a book, but still enjoyed reading the newspaper and watching the news every day. But despite this, as one would have expected, she showed tremendous courage and determination. Someone who knew her during that time said to me: "She was such a brave lady".

She always retained the fundamental beliefs that she had taken on as a child, but did not find that they could be expressed for her in the formality of organized religion. Her death, from cerebral thrombosis, when it came on Monday 12th May, was sudden and unexpected. On behalf of all who knew her, we offer our deep sympathy to Arthur, David, Rosamund and her grandchildren.

Ralph Mann

Arthur Nockels (Headmaster 1964-1980)

Touching tribute to former headteacher

'Remarkable' man dies after a long illness

From the Banbury Guardian, 23 August 2007, reproduced by permission

By Jemma Callow

TRIBUTES have been paid to a "committed" and "remarkable" former headteacher who dedicated his life to helping those around him.
Arthur Nockels of Enstone was 85 when he died last Tuesday after a lengthy battle against cancer.
He had became a prominent figure in the Chipping Norton area, where he spent several years heading Chipping Norton School before becoming the first president of the town's rugby club.
Mr Nockels's son David said: "He was a quiet and reserved man but had strong personal views which he tried to carry out in his own life. He was focused and committed to teaching - he loved it. He liked to see the progress of individual students and always supported them to do their best.
"Rugby was another of his passions.
"He introduced it into the school and then helped to set up the town's rugby club. His name became very well known around the town and he will be missed by a lot of people."
Mr Nockels read modem languages at Corpus Christi College in Oxford and, after receiving his qualification, met his wife Anna while serving in the Friends' Ambulance Unit during the Second World War.
He later returned to Oxford and gained a postgraduate certificate of education before embarking on his teaching career.
In 1964 he became headteacher of Chipping Norton School, where he remained until his retirement in 1980.
Former colleague and family friend Laura Simper said throughout his career Mr Nockels thought ahead of his time, with ideas such as exchange programmes, but carried himself as a traditional school master.
She said: "Arthur was an able linguist and intellectual heavyweight.
"He believed every child should be given an equal chance and was a great supporter of comprehensive education.
"He was very sensitive and aware of others, particularly the underdog, and was extremely moved by things. He was a very interesting, traditional man with the intellect to see ahead and move education forward."
After his retirement, Mr and Mrs Nockels pursued their interests in the theatre, Mozart's music and European travel. However, in the early 1990s Mrs Nockels suffered a severe stroke and Mr Nockels took it upon himself to become her full-time carer until her death four years ago.
Mr Nockels said: "At first we were worried how dad would manage but he did wonderfully well and his transformation into a carer was remarkable.
"I'll always remember him for how he looked after mum and I'm very proud of him for that - I have nothing but admiration."
Speaking of his father's devotion to his family, Mr Nockels added: "His grandchildren were a source of great enjoyment and we're all terribly sad he has gone.
"But the fact that he went peacefully and was surrounded by people who cared for him is a big comfort."

Chris Pittaway (Special Needs teacher late 70s / early 80s)

From the Wrexham Evening Leader, 11 December 2007.
Reproduced by permission

A POPULAR deputy headteacher of a Wrexham school has died suddenly at his home.
Chris Pittaway, deputy head at St Christopher's School, Wrexham, died at home in Shrewsbury late last week, after being treated in hospital for circulation problems.

Today, staff and pupils at the school are coming to terms with the loss of the popular and influential teacher.

Colleague, Richard Williams, said: "The school is shocked at this very unwelcome news. Both staff and students held Chris in great affection. He had a massive influence on the work of the school.

"I have had so many people contact me to offer sincere condolences and to express their genuine upset at this news."

Mr Williams said the emphasis at the school was being placed on dealing with the tragedy, as Mr Pittaway would have expected.

He added: "It is a bad blow to the school, but we are taking it in the way Chris would have wanted us to. Especially at this time of year, it is important to pull together and deal with as we have to.

"The overwhelming feeling for staff and pupils is shock, but we have to go on, although we could never find anybody as special as Chris."

Mr Pittaway, 52, was a former captain of Shrewsbury's rugby team, and later its chairman.

Tributes have been paid by the Rugby Football Union, who said he served the county 'with distinction' as number eight and captain.

At the time of his death, the father-of-one was working closely with the club president, Stuart Lister, on a history of the club, ahead of Shrewsbury's centenary season in 2008/09.

Mr Pittaway was a highly-respected figure in the field of special educational needs teaching.

He was senior vice president of NASEN (National Association of Special Educational Needs), and set to become the association's president in 2008, and was involved in the creation of a national framework for the teaching of PSE.

He leaves wife Maxine Grant, the school's headteacher, son Jack and stepson Mark.

Julian Backhouse adds:
He was a lovely guy and I remember him doing sterling work coaching our under 16's rugby team in 1979-1980

John Thompson. Died 29th April 2003.

John was at Chipping Norton School in the early 1930s when Mr Orme was Head Master. He remembered discipline being very strict then.
After leaving school he did electrical work in the area around Oxford, including a spell at Bliss Tweed Mill. During the war, he was in the RAF, stationed in Canada, close to where he was born. Les Sewel, another ex-Chipping Norton pupil was with him there for a time. He returned to Chadlington after finishing military service and in the late 1950s started his own business in Electrical Engineering Contracting. He was a local representative on the Chipping Norton RDC and then on WODC for many years.
In 1958 he married his wife Julie. They had four Children and seven Grand-children.