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PEET, Donald Thorpe (1902-1963)

Mr Donald Peet’s unexpected death in hospital, peacefully in his sleep, may be regarded as a merciful release for him, though all who loved him will miss him.  His mental and physical sufferings became more acute as the time for his retirement approached, and when this took place at the end of April, his friends wondered how his tired brain and heart would react.

Although Mr & Mrs Peet had left Wickhamford for Broad Campden last year, they were in frequent contact with friends in Badsey and Wickhamford, and the latter church was completely filled for the memorial service on 20th May.  It was fitting that this last tribute should be paid in the church where he had so recently been organist and choirmaster, and parochial church councillor.  He will long be remembered in Badsey Church too, especially for his beautiful rendering of the lessons during his residence there.  After headships of schools in the north of England, he came 18 years ago to Blackminster County Secondary School, where he taught music, scripture and English.  The Headmaster, Mr A J Cork, has kindly contributed the following memoir:

On first meeting one received the impression of a shy retiring person.  Longer association revealed a highly developed sense of humour, and a deep appreciation of the arts (music, drama, ballet, painting and sculpture).  Mr Peet enjoyed what was good and worthwhile, dismissing the cheap and tawdry with contempt.  Especially he loved old things of quality and character.  Always a perfectionist, he set himself very high standards and expected comparable standards from his pupils, with whom he always sought to share his ideals.  To him the best was the only worthwhile aim.  Because of this, his work in recent years imposed a great strain upon him affecting his health, but nevertheless he loved his work because he loved those with whom he worked.  Mr Peet was a very able teacher and a firm disciplinarian, highly respected by all his pupils; feared by a few but disliked by one.  He was most successful in bringing out the best from those who came under his influence.  Himself a kind man, he inspired kindness, and was upset by the unkindness sometimes shown by children in their relations with each other.  His recent ill-health greatly curtailed his enjoyment of many of the things that he loved, but the quality of hiss work in school was maintained right to the end.  On the occasion of his retirement, I described Mr Peet as an educated man in the widest send of the term, defining an educated man as “one who is enlightened in his interests, impersonal in his judgements, ready in sympathy for whatever is just and right, effective in the work he sets himself to do, and willing to lend a hand to anyone who is in need of it”.  I described him also as a truly Christian gentleman.  These two phrases, I think, describe him honestly and are as high a compliment as can be paid to any man.

Published in the June 1963 Parish Magazine.