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Memorial Assembly Marks Passing of Respected Head

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A Memorial Assembly at Bolton School Boys’ Division paid tribute to former Headmaster (2003-2008) Mr Mervyn Brooker who died, aged 64, unexpectedly from complications arising from meningitis. School Captains that served under Mr Brooker’s headship, Rob Jones and Peter Jolley, returned to offer a boy’s eye view, Head of Games Mr Paul Fernside spoke of the former Head’s sporting abilities particularly his cricketing prowess, Mr Michael Griffiths offered a governor’s perspective and current Headmaster Philip Britton talked about how he had led and shaped the school. Governors, members of staff, former pupils and teachers and friends of Mr Brooker joined the whole school assembly as flags flew at half-mast at the Chorley New Road campus.

Mr Britton said: “This was a man equally as energetic in his retirement as in his working life, his friendship, wisdom and commitment will be missed by many in the school community who remember his time at the school, many of whom he was still in touch with, maintaining his interest in their lives and news.

"Mervyn contributed enormously to both the success of the school at that time and, through developments he initiated, its success today. He was drawn to and nurtured the community feel of the school; he found a group of colleagues to work with who were enthused about their subjects and about the development of the boys; he revelled in the rich extra-curricular programme, which he felt so important to the wider purpose of the school. Two aspects of that were his particular passion: Patterdale Hall and cricket. Patterdale reignited in him a love of walking, which then led to many of his adventurous treks in retirement. A notably able cricketer himself, Mervyn established the groundwork that rekindled the national profile of cricket at the school. Careers education, a particular area of expertise, burgeoned under his leadership. Above all Mervyn is remembered for his commitment: he spent time to be present, at events, for colleagues when they needed advice and for parents and boys. He gave of himself to the school completely. His experience from his first Headship in Birmingham, coupled with a determined sense of purpose, did much to modernise the school for the 21stCentury.”

Mervyn Brooker was born in Burton on Trent, attending Lancaster Royal Grammar School and Burnley Grammar School. He read Geography at Jesus College, Cambridge and stayed on there for teacher training. An accomplished cricketer, he was awarded a Cambridge Blue and played minor counties cricket for Cambridgeshire and Staffordshire. He played for Lancashire over 50s whilst Headmaster.

His teaching career began at Saffron Walden County High School in Essex before successive promotions at Royal Grammar School Worcester and at Highfields School, Wolverhampton. After a spell as Deputy Head at King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys in Birmingham, he was promoted internally to its Headship. From there he moved to Bolton School to become Headmaster of the Boys’ Division. In semi-retirement, he renewed his association with the King Edward Foundation in Birmingham, becoming its Education Advisor, with responsibility for establishing its academy in Sheldon Heath, Headteacher appraisal and a key project concerning admissions and Primary School Liaison. He also thoroughly enjoyed some part time teaching, as well as being a Governor at Wolverhampton Grammar School.

He is survived by his wife Brigid and their two daughters.

Condolence messages and tributes can be read here.

A video of the Memorial Assembly can be viewed here.

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