Ron Tandy (1949 – 1988)
The funeral took place at Basingstoke Crematorium on 25th March
Steve Ryan’s Eulogy
Ron (Ronald Clarke) Tandy QEH 1949-1988 (born 1.12.1923)
Ron spent his entire teaching career at QEH and it is very gratifying to see so many Old Boys and staff members here today.
Fortunately for us Ron arrived at the school at a time when meticulous hand written record cards were kept, and his entry in the ‘Staff Register’ still survives:
1941- 1943 English School of Athletics Loughborough College.
1943-1947 War Service RAF bomber pilot.
1947-1949 St Paul’s College Cheltenham.
Ron taught at QEH for 39 years, retiring in 1988.
His death has led to a massive outpouring of affection from generations of Old Boys. I have spoken to several in person and there has been a great deal written on Facebook and Linkedin. The comments, without exception, talk about Ron or RCT in positive terms. The boys remember him with awe. I bumped into two in Henleaze on Saturday where one recounted the story of Ron in a PE lesson when they were in the second form, hanging from the wall bars with his legs at right angles for the whole lesson. The other whose family lived in Cooper Road, near to Ron, told of lifts home from Failand in Ron’s 3-litre Capri, driving as though he was still flying an aircraft over Canada during the war.
A sample of what the other boys have written:
• “A real QEH legend, I will never forget him saying to us: ‘There are hundreds of blokes who’d love to be sitting where you are, just remember that’.”
• “He showed great compassion when I was injured in the gym and had to be taken to the hospital”.
• “Last question in a Maths Lesson was always: ‘What is Sin D divided by Cos D’. Answer ‘Tandy’.”
• “There is only one word for you boy and that is Thick and Stupid.”
• “Thank you for standing in at the 13th hour to help out the House.”
• “Definition of hereditary – if your father couldn’t have children then neither will you”, and most poignantly, “I remember Ron with Great Admiration.”
• “He taught us Maths and PT in the 1950s. A genuinely nice bloke. R.I.P. Ron.”
As staff we remember Ron as the man who had a saying for everything. Aphorisms for every occasion.
• “NO man is indispensable.”
• “If you have to ask the price, you cannot afford it.”
• “You are only as rich as the amount you can borrow.”
• “You know you are old when you can no longer jump down from a table.”
• “Every son is taller than his Mother.”
The stories about Ron are legion.
– Before staff rugby matches we would raise a chorus of Ronnie Tandy to the ‘dam buster’ tune – a reference of course to his war service. Ron would always be our Captain.
– Ron alleged he managed to teach four lessons on a Saturday morning saying only three words.
– He started a parents evening by saying ‘your son is a liar and a cheat and we’ll start from there’.
Ron was a tremendous sportsman. He excelled at cricket and the Failand pavilion still bears the scars where he launched a six from the first XI pitch. He struck up a great relationship with Eric Gillett who shared his love of cricket. He could play tennis, football, badminton. A great skier he ran ski school trips. Gymnastics was one of his loves. He was also a tremendous golfing member of Henbury Golf Club.
He was housemaster of Hartnell’s and he took many teams, notably the U14 rugby who as many of you know hardly ever lost a home game. Ron’s refereeing deserves a tribute in itself. One boy received a penalty try versus BGS in extra time.
He loved taking the first XI cricket as he prided himself on the wickets at Failand which, under his stewardship, became some of the best in Bristol.
Richard Gliddon, who sends his apologies and best wishes, was Ron’s last Headmaster and recalls playing against QEH in 1955 for Queen’s Taunton and he said that Ron was a legend even then. Stephen Holliday the current Headmaster also sends his condolences on behalf of the school.
Ron oversaw the building of the new gym and the Failand grounds in the mid 70s.
On a personal note when I arrived at the school Ron always took an interest. He presented me with extracts of scorebooks where I had played against QEH. As an U15 I scored five and in the first XI, three. He wrote across the scores, ‘very little sign of progress’. He was a great friend to Jane and me, and especially generous when our first son William was born. I still have the letter he sent at the time, full of generosity of spirit. He became a friend of the family. He said that my mother’s chips were the best he ever tasted. We enjoyed visiting him in Budleigh Salterton where he enjoyed some very happy years in retirement.
The school community will miss him. He is right up there in the Pantheon of QEH greats. Life around Ron was never dull. He was the archetypal larger than life character.
I know he said ‘NO man is Indispensible’ but I think Ron was the exception to his own rule.