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Michael Drew (School Chaplain)

Sadly, it has come to the attention of Aunt Agatha that Michael Drew (School Chaplain 1966-75) died earlier this year. In his time at the school Michael was both School Chaplain and teacher of Modern Languages and contributed greatly to the enhancement of school life.


Michael went to Truro School and read Modern Languages at Oxford, and entered the Church. He came to Allhallows in 1966 and will be remembered fondly by many of those who were at the school during his tenure. Below is the Farewell that was written by his colleague, Jimmy Bliss, at the time that Michael left the teaching staff to join Honiton Community College. He later become Chaplain at Exeter School. 


Michael Drew is leaving us. They say (who are ‘they’?), with some truth, that a changing society is a vital society, but when the change is the departure of one so vital—so alive—-as Michael, one is afraid that something irreplaceable is going out of the life of the community——‘partir, c’est mourir un peu’—and it is with infinite regret that we have here to say farewell to him.


Michael has always shown himself to be the arch-opponent all cant and humbug, the champion of clear-thinking, the past-master of lucid expression of thought. It is perhaps for this, above all his manifold qualities that Alhallows should be most grateful. His brief, pithy, incisive expositions of anything under the sun, whether it be a moral point a difficult piece of doctrine, a nicety of cricket, a witty anecdote, a quotation from his encyclopaedic knowledge of Wode-house, this week’s collection, French grammar, producer's stage directions, and so on and so on. They will be long remembered by so many, many of us who have been fortunate enough to hear them. What has always made his talk – in the widest possible sense of the word—so telling, has been his utter sincerity, his kindness and sympathy, his infectious, whimsical, chuckling humour, his total lack of prejudice of any kind, his humanity and intellectual honesty.


His achievements have been marvellously wide, and reflect his very full personality. As chaplain, at a time when ‘Chaplaincy’ is the very hardest and often the most frustrating of tasks, he has managed to strike a note which has earned him affection, admiration and respect from the most unbelieving of the school community, and he has ever been a willing and sympathetic helper of the troubled and a champion of the underdog. On games fields he has disported himself to no mean purpose in what he would like, in Wodehousian manner, to he called “footer bags’, as well as in flannels, to make a major contribution to school cricket, a game in which he is an outstanding performer himself. In the classroom, whether teaching languages or instructing what has been variously called RJ, Scripture, Divinity, Comparative Religion, he has brought his fresh personality to clothe old and sometimes dusty facts and ideas with new life.


‘Out-of-school’ – a poor term for what in our kind of life is so definitely ‘in-school’ – he has debated, quizzed, acted (memories of ‘Thark’ and other usher-based entertainments), and produced, in particular, “Oliver!” This shall end the, albeit incomplete, catalogue, but it is by no means least in it, and it is this very special effort, knitting together the whole community in a way perhaps only Michael could have achieved, to which one returns so frequently in thoughts of him, His infectious zest made it an exciting and invigorating time for all of us, and it perhaps typified the way in which Michael has thrown himself so enthusiastically, so widely and so wholeheartedly into life at Allhallows. He will be sorely missed—-and that is neither cant nor humbug.