Alleyn Club Yearbook 2017

Latin. He became an avid reader and also liked poetry; his appetite for reading never left him. As well as literature, he also developed a taste for music at school. He was initially interested in classical music, particularly more modern composers such as Stravinsky compared with earlier, more traditional composers such as Beethoven. In his late teens, Gifford discovered jazz and amassed a huge collection of music from 78 rpm records to CDs during the course of his life. He left Dulwich with a School Certificate despite failing mathematics; he could never do geometry, had no sense of direction and very little spatial awareness. He still had to do National Service though, where he was stationed in the War Office in London. He was living at home with his parents, so his allowance all went on his two greatest passions: music and clothes. After National Service, he joined a Reading bus company as a management trainee for two years. He did not enjoy the work there, so he enrolled at Middlesex Polytechnic to study Latin and English, going north for teacher training at Bretton Hall in Yorkshire. He got a job teaching English Language and Literature at a school in Romford. Here he met Margaret, another young teacher, and Gifford and Margaret married in Margaret’s home town of Halifax in Yorkshire in 1957. The young couple couldn’t afford to buy a house in Romford so they moved to a new estate in Chelmsford. Margaret became pregnant but young baby Jeremy died aged just 16 weeks and they were both devastated. Two years later in 1961, Caroline was born, followed in 1963 by Simon. By then, they had moved to Maldon, but Gifford was still teaching in Chelmsford but finding the travelling more difficult. The family moved to Wethersfield in

1964 when he got a job as a lecturer at Braintree College of Further Education where he remained until he retired. He was teaching English and also ran a Film Club at the college for many years. Initial family holidays were spent at Margaret’s parents’ caravan on the Yorkshire coast but they always seemed to have terrible weather, so they bought a tent and went south to mainland Europe in later years. On retirement in 1986, Gifford pursued his life-long interests of reading and music usually at the same time. After Caroline and Simon left home, Gifford and Margaret moved from camping holidays to staying in hotels and eventually bought a small apartment in Spain so that they could divide their time between Essex and Spain. In 2011, Simon died leaving the whole family devastated. With deteriorating hearing, Gifford found it increasingly difficult to hear his beloved music and cataracts made reading tricky too. When his care needs became too great, he moved to Chilton Croft Nursing Home in Sudbury, where he received excellent care until he died in May 2016. He is survived by Margaret and daughter Caroline. This obituary is based on the script from Gifford’s Humanist funeral. Rodney Leslie Summers [1941-46] 11.06.1929 – 22.05.2016 Rodney Summers was born in Eastcote, Middlesex, but came to Dulwich from Woodbrook Prep School in Beckenham. At the College, he was in Drake. After leaving Dulwich, he went to Faraday House in Southampton Row, London, to train to become an electrical engineer. He remained in this area of

work for his entire career, eventually becoming a Chartered Electrical Engineer. He started work in Kent for the South Eastern Electricity Board, also known as Seeboard, before moving on to Sussex and finally to South London, with a large area to cover and in charge of a team of men who would be out day and night to ensure that electricity supplies remained on. When a chance to take early retirement came in 1985, Rodney jumped at the chance, retiring to Norfolk. He married his childhood sweetheart, Elizabeth, in 1956, and together they produced six children. When Rodney retired from work, they both moved to Norfolk where Rodney grew vegetables and prize-winning chrysanthemums in the garden. In 2004, Rodney and Elizabeth moved again within Norfolk to the coast at Hunstanton. They were married for 56 years until Elizabeth sadly died in 2012. Rodney spent the last year of his life living near his son and family in Lincolnshire, where he was cared for until he had to be admitted to hospital. Rodney finally lost his battle with illness after nearly ten weeks in hospital. His son Peter was at his bedside as he passed away peacefully. He is survived by six children and by eleven grandchildren.

Peter Summers contributed significantly to this obituary.

Edward Lawrence Cresswell Swaysland [1944-48] 13.01.1931 – 11.07.2015

Ted Swaysland was the son of an accountant who came to the College from the Prep. At Dulwich

he was in Spenser and was in the Shooting VIII, representing the College in the Ashburton Shield at Bisley.


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