Alan Finch

Alan Finch - Passmaster
Alan & Pat Finch
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It is with great sadness that we write to inform you of the passing away on 2nd July 2009 of our father Alan Finch. Dad died from the effects of cancer, allied to an underlying heart condition. Although he had been ill for some time, his death has come as a shock to us both.

I am sure Dad will be remembered by many staff and pupils; those who did not work closely with him or were not taught by him may have found him an unusual character to understand. He held strong and in his own way very principled views.

We do hope however that those who did get close to him, particularly pupils who he accompanied on 1970s trips away on the Norfolk Broads, to Luggershall and to Lockerbrook, together with 4th and 5th year car mechanics pupils of the later 1970s and early 1980s, will remember him with respect and with an understanding that he was incredibly committed to providing them with practical and useful real life experience and attributes.

The funeral will be at 1pm this Saturday (11th July) at St Chads Church, Linden Avenue, Woodseats, followed by burial in Abbey Lane Cemetery. We would very much appreciate it if you could distribute this information to all Old Edwardians who may have known Dad.

If anyone does wish to send flowers or donations in lieu, these can be sent c/o G & M Lunt Funeral Directors, 1-13 Camping Lane, Abbey Lane, Sheffield S8 0GB

Thank you

Moray and Gareth Finch

Mr Finch – article by John Drought in the 1973 KESMag.

Email from David Pollard

I knew Mr Finch during my last two years at the school, as it had just changed into a comprehensive school. Amongst other things, he ran a car maintenance facility, that had just been built under a playground shelter at the school. I at the time was running an unreliable 50’s motorcycle, and he and I came to an understanding I was extremely impressed with! I could use his facility, whether empty or had lessons running, in order to maintain my motorcycle during my free lessons. (There were many when doing A levels.) This worked admirably until the deputy head noticed my black finger nails and asked how they had been come by. His attitude was that mechanics facilities were not for the use of A level students, whether or not the periods were free. Incidentally, the same attitude prevailed with respect to the then newly opened domestic science labs. Not for use by the grammar school lads!

David Pollard KES 69-73

Email from Michael Ward

Dear Sir,

How sad I was to hear of Mr Finch's passing. I had my favourite teachers whilst at KES and Mr Finch was certainly up there at the top of the table. Strangely, my strongest memory of him, was his unnerving accuracy at throwing a blackboard eraser at a troublesome pupil, he could have won medals, if they had made it an Olympic sport ! Over the years since I left KES in 1974, Mr Finch has popped into my memory on many occasions and no doubt will continue to to do so. My condolences and very best wishes to his family.

Michael Ward.

Email from Sam Andrews

Mr Finch was undoubtedly one of the most memorable characters at King Edward's - a huge man physically, with a booming, slightly nasal voice, and a legendary aura. He had the respect and no doubt friendship of the 'car mechanics' boys, a tough bunch from a wide range of backgrounds, who knew him affectionately as 'Finchy'. Two anecdotes come to mind: firstly a gaggle of 6th formers parodying him, all wearing blue overalls and bald wigs, bouncing around the stage during one Christmas review, much to the amusement of the whole hall, and another time was on leavers' day, when I saw a young lad everyone knew as a bit of a hard case, surrounded by a few of his friends, give Mr Finch a genuinely affectionate pat on the cheek on the day we all left. Mr Finch said something on the lines of 'Is that the best you can do', to which the boy replied with a much firmer slap, the sound of which resonated a good distance. The boys laughed, Mr Finch laughed and, although slightly startled, Mr Finch took the strike with incredibly good humour, before shaking the boys' hand and wishing him well. Mr Finch was known by all to be robust, but never patronising and the underlying theme to this incident is that the boys he taught were often themselves of a pretty robust nature, but he actually respected them for it, where others had written them off. To me, this was his chief quality.

Unorthodox he may have been but I think Mr Finch simply exercised the freedom which was then allowed teachers, to pursue with integrity what really matters in teaching: reaching out to young people with a common interest and giving them a sense that they are being cared for.

Please pass on my condolences to the family.

Sam Andrews

Email from Roger Watkin, Head of English, 1975 - 2005

Dear Gareth

I am sorry to hear the news of your father's death. I lost touch with Alan in recent years, but remember from the mid 1970s a warm, exuberant colleague. Alan and I shared news and views from time to time, and also famously a trip with a cricket First XI which I was coaching at the time. Alan had kindly agreed to drive the team to Chesterfield in the ancient coach owned by the school and which I am sure only he could have maintained in a roadworthy condition. He and I agreed on a certain course of action because of the behaviour of two or three of my players. Alan supported me throughout and the result was a timely and useful warning for those involved. It was typical of him that he would stand by his beliefs and support a colleague.

I remember too that your mother's death was a hard blow. I saw a little of him at the time and learned something about what she had meant to him.

Alan also taught one of my daughters to drive in typically crisp and efficient fashion: she hasn't looked back! Please accept my condolences.

Roger Watkin

Email from Glyn Thompson

This is sad news.

I can still see Mr Finch stalking the downstairs corridors during break time striking terror into the heart of any 3th former unlucky enough to cross his path. I only once had him for a class and that was when I was injured and had to go to "non-games" on a rainy Monday afternoon after which I wished I'd struggled to play!

He used to take after school car maintenance classes and was always a charismatic man who gained complete respect from all the pupils in the school by the force of his personality.

He was renovating an old house when I met him once again about 25 years later and I recognised him instantly. I introduced myself and although he didn't remember me personally we reminisced about the times and people we both knew over a mug of tea. I remember saying "but you know they wouldn't let you teach like that today" he agreed, but somehow I think he would have found a way of being just a good a teacher even in today's PC enviroment.

So long Mr Finch you inspired so many young people were one of the good guys!

Glyn Thompson