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News > OJ Club News > David Hughes - 1940-2020

David Hughes - 1940-2020

Chevron 1954-1959 & valued member of Staff 1965-2000



There are famous names of people with long connection with Hurst; Maurice Pitcher (OJ) with cricket week and P.W.Scott as housemaster of Chevron for forty eight years, and now David Hughes. The stark statistics are that David was a pupil from 1954 to 1959 and then on the staff from 1965 to 2000 but numbers never tell the full story.

As a pupil, David was captain of Chevron, and vice-captain of Rugby in the vintage season of 1958 when only one first XV fixture was lost. He retained his love of the game playing for Hove RFC at which time he also represented Sussex. While at Cambridge he became a top referee.

Also while at Hurst he nurtured his love of music as secretary of both the choral society and the gramophone club. He had a fine voice and later in life sang with Heide, his wife, in the Brighton Festival Chorus. Together they slipped off to Glyndebourne as often as possible in their pursuit of their love of opera. He was a man of faith; as senior sacristan at Hurst this was undoubtedly fostered.

In 1964 David graduated from Magdalene College, Cambridge with a degree in economics. A year later, having completed his teaching qualification, he returned to Hurst. After short house-tutorship in Star and Fleur-de-Lys, David was appointed housemaster of Martlet in 1975 where he and Heide proved to be the ideal couple for the post. Their happy tenure lasted until 1990. During these years David set many young people on their way in the world with his advice as Hurst's careers master. He also spent many hours coaching rugby and athletics. He was second master from 1993 until he retired.

In 1967 there were three memorable events in England. Foinavon won the Grand National at 100 to 1, Sandie Shaw triumphed in the Eurovision song contest with Puppet on a String and Heide accepted David's proposal of marriage. Thus began fifty three years of happy union which included the births of Gesine and Dieter (OJ). In 2000 when David retired, the college's loss was the gain of others. As top organisers, both David and Heide were heavily involved in the early years of the Hurst Festival which has grown and flourishes to this day. Their house always seemed to be filled with the music for the Brighton Festival Chorus along with the happiness one always found there. David also worked tirelessly for the local Probus Club.

David never knew his father who was killed in the war serving in the RAF, but he was lucky to have a devoted mother who could so easily have spoilt him. But she didn't and maybe that is why we have sadly lost such a fine man.

George Hill

Comments from OJs:

Very sorry to hear of David's death. He was the best maths teacher I had at Hurst. - Bruce Ruddock (Fleur de Lys 1969 -1974)

Sad news indeed, and thank you to George for writing such a splendid obituary of David. - David Ruddock (Fleur de Lys 1966-1970)

What a great obituary, George. Thank you. He was a fine teacher and a very good man, I remember him well. - Christpher Gaze (Fleur de Lys 1966-1970)

As a Martlet pupil from ‘70-75 I was fortunate to have George and David as my housemasters. David (although to many of us he will always be “Tubby” Hughes) was a delightful, kind man and a great teacher. - Paul Bennet (Martlet 1970-1975)

A sad loss. Another of the good all round masters from the 60s - 70s. - Nigel Vickery 

A very sad loss. He was at school with my father, he was my godfather, but most importantly he was a great housemaster for us in Martlet as well as a fabulous Economics A level teacher A man ahead of his times. - James Burleigh (Martlet 1980-1985)

I was fortunate enough to have "Tubby" as my economics A level teacher. I don't remember much except that we should never forget that St Paul did not say that money is the root of all evil. The love of money... RIP Mr Hughes! - Nicholas Williams (Eagle 1969-1974)

I remember how young and enthusiastic he was. It was a subject I had absolutely no aptitude for unfortunately but that was not his fault! - Robert Horsley (Star 1961-1966)

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