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10th May 2019 - Nostalgic Bude Post on Peter Ashworth

I duplicated my post below on Facebook. This is the link. Some wonderful memories of him in the thread. Hope the link works.

Peter Ashworth 8th May 2019 - Peter Ashworth

I’m told there was a local announcement as follows:

“Peter Ashworth passed away aged 85 on the 3rd May (2019) at North Devon Hospital after a long illness. Private funeral.”

Such a short announcement and I couldn't find more. Excuse me for writing the following to mark his effect on my life.

Peter Ashworth was my physics teacher in the nineteen-sixties and also our form master. Pupils called Peter, ‘Happy’ and ‘Happy Ashworth’. It was the time that the Egg Marketing Board were promoting eggs. Occasionally messages would appear on blackboards saying, ‘Happy is egg-shaped’ in reference to his rapidly thinning hair.

He was a sportsman too. I never liked rugby but I’m told he was actually quite a good player at one time.

To me his life was always about new things happening in science. He told us of continental drift before it was totally accepted; relativity in an understandable way; quasars and their implications; the expanding universe; supernovae. None of that was in the curriculum.

I think he liked me. Perhaps others thought he liked them too. Maybe he was just a good teacher and tried to build the same rapport with all of his pupils. In my last year, he put me in for S-level physics to go with physics, pure maths and applied maths. He also gave me a project to build an electronic binary adder-subtractor. We pored over the books of transistors, diodes and other bits together and, damn it all, it actually worked! I was told that others went on to add to it in future years.

Sadly, I let him down, failing all my A and S-levels. I didn’t do the work but should still have scraped through except for the most awful hayfever during the exams. He encouraged me to come back to resit, but Thomas Law had made it clear I wasn’t welcome. Such things shape your life.

On frequent visits to Bude, I always tried to visit him in that strangely located house with the charming walled garden. He spent hours explaining how he was building a heating system which would give them free power – I don’t think he ever finished it, but planning and talking about it was half the fun for him.

In 2015, at the big reunion, he was in a wheelchair. He didn’t want to come, but I told him that if he didn’t, Allan Vodden, Michael Gliddon and I would come and physically drag him to the venue. He came and many times I caught glances of him deep in conversation or laughter with the ageing students.

The last time I saw him, in 2017, he was quite immobile, but had discovered the internet and that must have been a great comfort. He told me of plans for a textbook he was working on. He was always encouraging of my own science fiction writing and I will remember that forever. He was actually the inspiration for one of the minor characters in The Visitor.

I will greatly miss him and really valued his friendship. Deepest sympathies to Linda and their family.

Let me finish by thanking Happy for not minding being called egg-shaped and for being a fantastic teacher and inspirational human being.

Tony Harmsworth 9th May 2019

18th April

Note from Adrian Abbott:


The below has been sent to me from a friend in West Cornwall which may be of interest to past students.

Taken from today's West Briton:


On Saturday 6 April 2019 peacefully at Treliske Hospital, Truro, David aged 83 years of Constantine (former teacher). Dearly loved husband of Helen and formerly the late Enid. Much loved dad of Janet, Robert and John. Loving grandpa to all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Private Cremation.

Service of Thanksgiving at Central Methodist Church, Helston on Thursday 25 April 2019 at 11.00am.

Family flowers only but donations in aid of Treverva Male Voice Choir and the Friends of Constantine Surgery may be sent c/o

Pendle Funeral Services, The Firs Funeral Home, St Johns, Helston, TR13 8HN.

Tel: 01326 573080


Adrian Abbott.


16th February 2019

Note from Roger Hunter:

Hello Tony

Don't know if anyone has informed you Pauline Smeeth (Pauline Pearce) has passed away recently following an illness. Last saw her and her husband Andrew Smeeth at the reunion at the Falcon.




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