On Saturday 5 March, over 200 former pupils, staff and friends of RGS gathered in the Peter Masefield Hall to celebrate the life of legendary schoolmaster, Aubrey Scrase, who sadly passed away shortly after his 90th birthday last November. It was a great testament to Aubs that so many Reigatians attended the event from both near and far, to pay their respects to a wonderful man who had dedicated over 40 years of his life to Reigate Grammar School and had such a significant impact upon the lives of so many individuals and families. Also, having travelled from Sheffield and the West Country to join us, we were thrilled to welcome Aubrey’s family to Reigate Grammar School on the day.
The morning began with RGS pupils singing a medley of Mozart and Gilbert and Sullivan, Aubrey’s favourite music. RGS Headmaster, Mr Shaun Fenton, then welcomed the guests and led everyone in a heartfelt rendition of the school song – To be A Pilgrim. Never before had it been sung with such passion and conviction!
What followed was an hour or so of story-telling, passionate sentiment and generous humour, as Reigatians and guests took to the stage to share their thoughts, memories and obvious affection for the man they admired so much.
As one former pupil reflected,
His greatest attribute was the ability to treat pupils as adults and to care for them and treat them as children at the same time. This is a very rare skill. It allowed children to trust him as someone who respected them, and they respected him in return.
His nephew Jeff said,
Aubs was one of the happiest and contented men I knew and that was because of his work at the school. Therefore, I would like to thank the School and the pupils for the life that you gave him
Sir Keir Starmer (RGS 1974-81), gave the final toast and asked everyone to raise their glass in honour of this truly great Reigatian with a fitting toast of “Silly Sod”! During his summary, Keir asked everyone to look carefully at the image of Aubs that was on the screen and reflected,
Aubs had a calm way of allowing you to be an adult. We trusted him and he would never judge us. Look at that face, blue shirt, messy hair, big glasses. Then look at the smile and ask yourself “What was he thinking?” I was taught by Aubs in the broadest sense of the word. I was taught much more than Latin and like many others I stayed a friend of his throughout his life.
Sean Davey, Foundation Director, reflected upon how we should remember Aubs and maintain his legacy. Following discussions with the Scrase family and many Reigatians, we have agreed that the creation of the ‘Aubrey Scrase Scholarship Fund’ to support disadvantaged children from the local area would be most appropriate. To be known as ‘Aubrey Scrase Scholars’, these children will receive a transformational opportunity through an RGS bursary. Aubrey Scrase believed that any child should have the opportunity to broaden their educational experience through extra-curricular activities therefore the fund will also support and enable those students from modest backgrounds to participate in the enrichment activities that RGS has to offer.
We invite you to support the ‘Aubrey Scrase Scholarship Fund’ and give a child more than just a curriculum…give an RGS education worth exploring!
Finally, we are making arrangements to rename the footpath between Blackborough Road and RGS to ‘Aubs’ Way’