Wiltshire Publications

Former teacher at Matravers School and well-known preacher is remembered

FORMER pupils at Matravers School were shocked and saddened to hear of the death of long-serving teacher Roger Simmonds.

Roger taught religious education at the Westbury school for 18 years before returning to his native Budleigh Salterton in 1992.

He went on to work as a supply teacher in and around Devon but often returned to Wiltshire to preach at chapels and churches in Westbury, Steeple Ashton, Winsley and Yarnbrook.

A keen cricketer and hockey player, Roger was still acting as an umpire in November.

He also loved the dramatic arts, something with which he was particularly involved at Matravers. In later years he reviewed productions for his local newspaper and performed with local groups. In January he played a downtrodden Sheriff of Nottingham in the Budleigh Buddies’ pantomime ‘Robin Hood’.

Roger is remembered by former Matravers pupils as a kindly man who made a big impression on many of his pupils.

On Facebook Tina Brown described a “huge character”, while David Hodkinson called him “a star of a teacher”.

Some fondly recalled his Reliant Robin cars and rumours of them ending up in the stream running through the school grounds on more than one occasion.

Former pupil Susan Bradley, nee Painter, said Roger had given her the confidence to seek a career in journalism.

She said, “He really encouraged me to go for it. They say you never forget a great teacher and many people in Wiltshire will be sad to hear that Roger has died.”

Louisa Davison, nee Snook, said Roger’s death was a real shock. She said, “Roger kept in touch from the time he taught me RE at Matravers School in the 1980s to now, still exchanging Christmas and birthday cards. He was very enthusiastic and supportive.”