Obituary – Charles Jeffrey James Hunt. (Boarder 1970-1977)
The class of 1970 lost a popular member of its number on 27th June 2013 when sadly Charlie lost a courageous year-long battle against cancer.
Charlie was born in Keynsham, near Bristol, the eldest of four children. However the family moved to Pensford in 1968 and it is with this small Somerset village that many of his contemporaries associate him. His father was a local GP and his mother a housewife and a publicly spirited lady who was active in the local community, an attribute that she passed on to Charlie. The older of his two brothers Tom also attended QEH starting 2 years later than Charlie, though tragically he died not long after leaving the school.
Like many of the boarders in our year, he endured a nervous start at the school though Charlie settled down and became involved in all aspects of school life, in particular sport, where he excelled in rugby, cricket, squash and other team sports. As a high-scoring flying winger he was ever-present in ‘A’ Teams, significantly scoring the try which beat Clifton College when they finally consented to play QEH at 1st XV level in 1976. As a hard hitting middle order batsman and occasional bowler he also played for the 1st XI. He was proud of his house – Carr’s where he was deputy house captain in 1976-77. He also won the athletics cup on several occasions.
He left school having completed ‘A’ levels to go on to the University of London, Goldsmith’s College to read Geography and Anthropology, enjoying University life and playing rugby for the University’s 1st XV. He met his wife Bridget whilst there and after living in Birmingham and Camberley they settled in Wallington near Baldock in Hertfordshire which was their home for over 20 years. They also spent 3 years in Ireland living at Enniskerry in the Wicklow Mountains whilst Charlie held a senior position working for Tesco acquisition Quinnsworth in Dublin. Their children Lizzy and Tommy, of whom he was immensely proud, arrived in 1992.
Having graduated from University Charlie entered the food industry progressing to senior buyer, a job he absolutely loved, working right up until shortly before his death. His eyes would light up talking for instance, about coffee markets and as a natural raconteur, many of his amusing anecdotes were from experiences encountered in his working life.
He spent a significant number of years with Tesco for whom he did a large amount of travelling. A favourite story of his was when he was on one of his trips to China and was dining out with a client. He casually asked what he was eating and was told that it was RAT! Charlie’s reaction was such that it prompted his host to put him at ease by further explaining that everything was fine because it was “Country rat” as opposed to town rat! So he ate it, so as not to offend. Maybe the varied cuisine at the school in the 70’s (and indeed the unique brand of QEH humour!) stood him in good stead for this unusual experience?
But his favourite place to travel with work was India. He described it as being so incredibly vibrant & busy….just like him. He joined Tesco in 1990 and working there for over 20 years eventually moving on to Compass group in 2011.
And being bitten by the travel bug meant that Charlie and Bridget took their children on some great adventures with many special family holidays being spent in Majorca as well as Egypt, Tobago and Barbados where he was able to enjoy a great hobby of his -Scuba diving.
Charlie had a great many leisure interests; he loved motor sport and Grand Prix racing as well as Test matches, whether rugby or cricket. He also had a great love of music… the real head banging stuff, teaching his children to appreciate Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones to name but 3!
He had some special qualities. He had a great sense of humour and loved the banter and jokes. Apart from playing village cricket and arranging quizzes Charlie also took on responsibility in the community. He became Chair of the Governors at Sandon Primary School for several years when his children were there and typically, he continued for some time after they had left as well as being a member of the PCC of his home parish for many years.
That he appreciated the benefits of his education at QEH there is no doubt, forming lasting friendships. He was popular amongst staff as well as his peers and an enthusiastic and regular attendee at all of our various year group reunions over the years.
It was in May 2012 when he first told us of his diagnosis with cancer and he was very philosophical about his chances, though fighting his illness right up until the end. His funeral was held at St Mary’s Church in the small village of his home at Wallington near Baldock in Hertfordshire on 9th July 2013. As a measure of his popularity there were over 200 present – family, friends, work colleagues past and present and a large number of tributes from people with whom Charlie had been associated; a very sad loss and the passing of a good friend to many.
Charlie loved life… and he lived it to the full. We were all very shocked and saddened by the news of his death and collectively our deepest sympathies go out to Bridget, his daughter Lizzy, son Tommy and to all his wider family.
(John Orchard 1970)