School photo

The Revd.  Edward John Widdows 

Courtenay 1958-1963

Like others, my arrival at Courtenay was akin to a baptism of fire! However, I left with an appreciation of its down to earth outlook and unpretentiousness, which I hope to have held on to in subsequent years. My favourite subject was history which I enjoyed under Harold Clarke, housemaster of Grange. Most influential was Dennis Cox, director of music. As a flautist in the school orchestra and a tenor in the school choir he had a profound impact upon my love of music, and church music in particular. His dedication was an inspiration, as was his kindness and generosity. I greatly enjoyed drama under the guidance of John Binfield, who was new to the staff in my time. He taught me to be observant of human nature which I have certainly had cause to do. I enjoyed cross country running, as this had the advantage of getting more free time if completing the course early.

Shooting was my major sporting activity and was our House Captain in my final year. I also enjoyed the CCF, and was one of the first to be part of a new section of First Aid and Civil Defence; no doubt a nodding acknowledgement of the Cuban crisis and Cold War! Friendships were formed, in particular John Timmis who was best man at our wedding, and who for his sins remains my accountant. 

I was pleased to be made a member of the prestigious athenaeum which boasted its own distinctive tie, with white alphas (α). I was greatly influenced by the chaplain the Revd. H. G. James ex R.N., who steered me onto the official path towards ordination as a priest in the Church of England. I was the head chapel steward during his time, and valued his quiet and no nonsense attitude towards Christianity which was at the heart of all that SLC stood for. He organised a retreat for VIth. Formers which I attended, led by the Bishop of Dover, and then sent me on a VIth. form vocational conference at Jesus College Oxford, led by the Bishop of Norwich.

I went to the London College of Divinity in Northwood for theology, although it did not represent my own stratospheric level of Anglicanism, but it did offer reduced rates at the local golf club (not Moor Park – the other one behind the True Lovers’ Knot).  I ‘survived’ until retirement from ill health caused me to relinquish my final post in which one of my most privileged duties was to deputise for the Precentor at Choral Evensong in Winchester Cathedral on various occasions. A highlight of my ministry was going to Lambeth Palace to receive the Archbishop’s Certificate in Church Music from Archbishop George Carey. In all my ministry I have been ably supported by my wife, Joy cf. picture ante, who was a teacher in my first curacy. It was a blessed reward for my showing a pastoral interest in members of the staff! I am deeply indebted to her for her love and compassion, and support in all of my ministry.

I remember SLC with a measured degree of affection and gratitude, and for the opportunity to respond to God’s call to serve Him to the end.

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