The Prescotian Webzine

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Ewart Heywood by Geoffrey Dixon (From the Prescotian Magazine, 1970)

I been asked to write tribute to my friend and colleague, Ewart Heywood, I am very pleased to do so. I have never known anyone who touched life at so many points.

Ewart Heywood was born into the grand Manchester tradition of Liberalism, whose Bible is "The Guardian", its temple the Free Trade Hall and its prophet his namesake Gladstone. With such a Christian name his politics were decided for him. He was for many years chairman of the Birkenhead Liberal Party and stood as a Liberal in a Par liamentary Election. Although has retired from politics, his wife is still very active in the Liberal cause.

It was in Manchester that Mr.Heywood developed his love of music. No mean Pianist himself, his tastes are strictly classical and his standards high and uncompromising. But his greatest love is for literature. Here his taste is catholic and his reading wide. His house overflows with books which he recommends to his friends with enthusiasm. He is an ardent playgoer, whose discerning judgements make him an acceptable theatre companion. He even has time to dabble in painting, a hobby which he hopes to take up again during his retirement.

Mr.Heywood was a late entrant to the teaching profession and after graduating at Manchester he taught in Egypt, where he remained until the end of the War. Then in his forties he, in common with the other British teachers in Egypt, was compelled to start a new career elsewhere. He was appointed to P.G.S. as a member of the English department, where he stayed until his enforced retirement last December. During his years in Prescot he has completely identified himself with the School and his services to our corporate life have been enormous. Among other things he has taken charge of cricket, managed the dining-room, and ac ted as Careers Master. I found him a very useful member of the production staff in the Dramatic Society and he most effectively took over the Debating Society when I was "kicked upstairs". But his main impact was in the classroom. His infectious enthusias m and his ringing (oh, so ringing!) tones banished boredom from his lessons. He even found fun and inspiration in every set of essays that he marked. His love of English Literature inspired many of his pupils to study the subject in the sixth form and later at university. What an irony that such a vigorous spirit should have been dogged by ill-health, but even his bodily ailments were discussed with his characteristic vigour and lucidity.

The School is the poorer for his departure and 1 am sure that for a time he too will sadly miss the School. Nevertheless with his spiritual resources, retirement will not hang heavily on his hands. It will certainly give him more time to devote to his friends, among whom I am proud and fortunate to reckon myself.

A further appreciation from former pupil, John Willmott (1953)
This is an appreciation of Ewart Heywood (1903-1973) who taught me English in the late 1940's, over sixty years ago. In particular, he pointed me, as one of his pupils, in the direction of reading literature - something that has served me well to this day. In particular, he read to us John Moore's "Brensham Village" - should he try and teach us something else, the class would shout, "Brensham, Brensham" after which, peace would return when he started to read to us again.

This book was published again many years later in a group of three called the Brensham Trilogy. I am reading Brensham Village again just now and I enjoy it now as much as I did all those years ago.

Many thanks, Mr Heywood - he thought of me, probably quite rightly, as being something of a wretch. In 1950, the year I sat the Oxford School Certificate, the last year before GCE's were introduced. He wrote on my Summer Term report, "He might do well if he does not drop too many bricks" !! I got a Distinction in English Language and a Credit in English Lit so Mr Heywood's efforts were not entirely in vain.


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