Tom Jeffers – Staff – Teacher 72- 04, Housemaster PeA 80-90

Monday 20 April 2020

Submitted by Robert Mardling

Born in Littlehampton, West Sussex in 1944, Tom attended Chichester High School. Here he distinguished himself in the area of sport, where he was Captain of the First XV and developed his deep passion for music, playing the guitar and singing to a high standard.

Before arriving at the Hall to read Modern Languages in 1963, Tom had already developed a great love of Austria and it was in Vienna that he first met Dr Ken Segar, later to become Tutor in German at the Hall, successor to Dr HG Barnes. At the Hall, where he appreciated the guidance and support of his tutors, notably Dr Barnes and his wife Annie, he continued to follow his  musical and sporting interests, particularly Rugby Football and he also learned to row, competing in both Torpids (Novice Torpid 1965, 2 bumps; Schools’ Torpid 1966, 2 bumps) and Summer Eights (5th VIII 1965, 3 bumps; Schools’ VIII 1966, stroke and oar winner).

After graduating in 1966, Tom undertook a PGCE at the University of Southampton in 1966-7 and in 1967 he embarked on his teaching career, his first post being at Gillingham GS, Kent. He married Jackie, his girlfriend since school days, in 1968. Tom, Jackie and family moved to Christ’s Hospital, Horsham in 1972 where both Tom and Jackie enjoyed rich, varied and fulfilling careers until retirement in 2004.

In addition to teaching Modern Languages, Tom threw himself in to a wide range of aspects of school life, including Venture Scouts, drama and music, where he frequently combined his talents with those of fellow Aularian, John Shippen, former organ scholar. He cited conducting a male voice choir at both the Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall as amongst the most thrilling experiences of his career. He fulfilled a number of senior posts, including Housemaster, Head of Department and President of the Common Room. He was a scholar and committed teacher in so many ways. One of the reasons he gave for taking up GCSE Italian shortly before he retired was to share the experience of course work with the pupils. On retirement he continued to study, achieving a First Class Honours degree in Classical Civilisation at the Open University .

Sadly, in recent months, Tom’s health deteriorated and he succumbed to Covid-19 on March 27th, 2020. When news of his death was circulated among former pupils and colleagues, the overwhelming number of messages of love, support, appreciation and gratitude received by Jackie was a true reflection of the part that Tom had played in the lives of so many.

Tom was a man of great personal charm and good humour, always amenable, gregarious and sociable. A devoted family man, he was very loyal to his friends and colleagues. The Hall has lost a great supporter and strong advocate.

Our sincere condolences go to Jackie, son Edmund, daughters Kate and Sarah and the grandchildren on their loss and we mourn the passing of a true gentleman, a true friend. He will be greatly missed.