The following Obituary was contributed by Bob Williams:
Richard Broad was appointed Headmaster of Brandeston Hall in 1968, following David Kittermaster, and remained at the helm until 1974. He had previously, at the age of 28, been appointed to the Headship of Gloucester House, Portora Junior School.
The early years were not always easy, with a certain amount of ‘raising the dust’ as he coaxed the school out of the comfort zone that it found itself in as the lengthy and happy Kittermaster era drew to a close.
I first set eyes on BH a few days before Christmas 1969, called for interview by Richard Broad. A dark December day and not a pupil in sight. An empty school can look rather bleak – and it did. It had ‘non-starter’ written all over it. Richard had a hard-sell job on his hands but that’s exactly what he did. I liked what he was all about and his vision for the future of the school as he wished to see it. I took the job and stayed for 32 years!
Richard was a very fine teacher of history, a meticulous administrator and something of a workaholic; just as well in the light of the minimal secretarial help that a BH Head received in those days. He appreciated a similar ethos in his staff. He rightly felt that it was no good seeking employment in a boarding school if you were a clock-watcher. Richard always set great store by the smart appearance of his pupils (Highly polished black shoes was always the mantra!). The Brandeston swimming pool, shortly to be converted to an indoor facility as part of the new build about to take place in the Rose Garden area, remains today very much as his legacy. BH veterans will recall that, prior to Richard’s fund-raising initiatives and in association with his newly established Parents’ Association, the arrangement was originally a dip in the none-too-delectable waters of the Deben and, when that was finally deemed a health hazard, the regular bussing of boys up to the College pool.
Key initiatives associated with the ‘RPB Years’ included the introduction of a College Entrance Examination, the demise of the cane as an acceptable form of discipline, the robing of the Chapel Choir, the establishment of designated subject rooms/resource centres – and also a school orchestra. His Local History Activity Group produced an exhaustive “Survey of the Parish of Brandeston” which was enthusiastically received. Richard was, in 1972, a founding member of the IAPS Orchestra Committee when Brandeston Hall established a long tradition of playing host to this national orchestra while they prepared for their annual concert at Snape Maltings
A constant support to Richard was his wife, Cynthia, the epitome of what a Prep School Head’s wife should be; always welcoming with parents and a broad shoulder (an entirely appropriate pun!) for small people to lean upon.
After Brandeston Richard moved to King Edward’s School, Witley, where he was Head of History in the Senior School. He retired to Dunkeswell in Devon in 1988, where, for the next 22 years, he and Cynthia were heavily involved in village life. He was, for the greater part of 20 years, Clerk to the Governors at Millwater Special School and an invaluable lay reader at St. Nicholas’ Church. Richard and Cynthia had recently relocated to Yate, near Bristol, to be under the watchful eye of their younger son, Paul.
It was very good to see them both at what turned out to be his last visit to Suffolk, the 60th birthday celebrations of the school in September 2008.
At a well attended Memorial Service, in Dunkeswell on 14th April, both Richard and Cynthia’s O.F. sons, Nicholas and Paul, gave a moving joint tribute to their father’s very full life of service, both to the world of education and local community and as a devoted family man. Former Head of English at BH, John Richards, read a lesson and the School and Society were represented by Bob Williams.
Our very sincere condolences are extended to Cynthia and Nick and Paul and their families.