Former pupils, colleagues and parents joined together at New Road on Saturday to celebrate the outstanding contribution Barrie Rees has made to RGS Worcester and the alumni association.
Barrie joined the School in 1967 and has never really been allowed to leave. A point made by no fewer than five speakers that included the Headmaster, a Governor, the AOOE President, an international sportsman and a fellow Welshman by the name of John Prickett.
AOOE President, Pete Breakwell, introduced Mr Rees as one of the three legendary Welsh ‘barrys’ alongside Barry John and Barry Island. This set the tone for the afternoon.
Each speaker recounted aspects of Barrie’s character and stories attributed to his times in the classroom and on the sports field. There was recognition that the School is now a very different place to how it was in 1967 but that Barrie was a teacher and coach who adapted with the times. His approach was underpinned by an unshakable belief in the importance of mastering languages while competing hard but respectfully on the sports pitch.
A love of crosswords was cited as one reason why Barrie was able to hone his skills as a wordsmith coupled with a rapier-like sense of humour over the past half century. Countless pupils and colleagues have benefited from (and occasionally have been on the receiving end of) his trademark dry wit. Yet through everything it has been Barrie’s tireless commitment to the pupils in his care. His desire to see pupils achieve the best from their ability was uncompromising; Tim Curtis noted that Barrie’s report on Tim’s final year report card read ‘not quite the great season we had hoped for’. Tim averaged 109 that season!
John Prickett’s accounts of being one half of the RGSW Welsh double act in the 1970s drew considerable laughter and offered an intriguing insight to Barrie’s life away from RGSW. By the time Barrie used his right of reply guests really were aching from laughter.
Fittingly the gathering raised a glass to Barrie in a toast proposed by his son, Dannie (1988-97), and Barrie received a presentation photography from the School as a ‘thank you’ for all that he has contributed to RGS Worcester.