Harrow County Staff

Mr. V. B. Edwards

(from the Gaytonian Staff Association Newsletter No. 16 - January 1996)

We regret to report that Viv Edwards died last May, at the age of 64.  The following memoir has been compiled by Bob TYLER.

"I well remember meeting Viv shortly before my first term at Harrow County, in September 1965.  After we had introduced ourselves, his first question to me was, I suppose inevitably, 'Do you know anything about Rugby?'  I confessed to a passing interest in the game, having coached teams at my previous school, King Henry VIII, Coventry, and at the end of our conversation I found myself in charge of one of Harrow County's junior teams.  I subsequently ran the 2nd VX, and as a result spent a lot of time in Viv's company, on Wednesday afternoons and at Saturday matches, as well as pre-season training camps and the odd trip to South Wales, where Viv happily renewed acquaintance with Bridgend Grammar school.  This was a very successful period for Harrow County Rugby, both in terms of results and also in the quality of Rugby played by several generations of boys, and this was due largely to Viv's tireless efforts on and off the playing field.  His single-minded, often abrasive approach sometimes led to heated confrontations, with boys and with colleagues - not to mention parents! - and it was sometimes hard to convince him that he was being unreasonable, unjust, inconsiderate, or simply plain wrong, but humour usually won through in the end, and the response and the respect which he was able to get from the teams in his charge was a tribute to his strength of character.  He was prepared to allow academic work to occupy first place in the boys' priorities, but Rugby always had to come next, and his own commitment to the game was always the most important part of the considerable contribution he made to the life of the school.  He ran the athletics during the summer, but I always felt that he regarded the summer term as a brief, pleasant break between Rugby seasons.  When he was persuaded to take part in other school activities, he revealed unexpected hidden talent - I think his very successful appearance as the Counsel in a staff production of 'Trial by Jury' both surprised and delighted him, - probably more than his attempts to improve the Welsh pronunciation of the cast of 'Under Milk Wood'.

"It was a great pity that his eventual move to Sevenoaks School did not work out better for him, especially as it meant that in later years he had little contact with school Rugby at all - and that must be counted a loss.

"One clearly remembered moment sums up, for me, his attitude to his teams' performances.  An unbeaten 1st XV was playing a desparately close match against a very strong Northampton Grammar XV, and with a few minutes to go was just in the lead - only to lose the game by a last-minute penalty goal.  'Never mind, Mr. Edwards', said one well-meaning mother, 'they did play very well......'  I thought murder was about to be committed on the Watford Road touch-line, especially as the speaker's son was the unfortunate who had given away the crucial penalty!  Viv did eventually laugh about that - but only much later!

I was very glad to be associated with the Rugby teams at Harrow County during my six years there, and the school certainly had reason to be grateful to Viv for all his efforts.  His death, I am sure, will be a great sorrow to all his former colleagues.'

Obituary from the Old Gaytonian Magazine 1995:

Vivian Edwards

All too soon we have had to say goodbye to Viv Edwards. He was a hard man, dedicated to fitness, in himself as in his pupils, and his valiant fight against cancer gave him several extra years of characteristically energetic life. A former Welsh schoolboy international at wing forward, he came to Harrow County as a PE teacher and played both for the Wasps and for the Old Gayts. He moved away to Sevenoaks to teach and returned to Southall Technical College, having switched from PE to Computer Studies. Many Old Gayts will remember him as a fine rugby coach and trainer, enforcing training regimes with a rigour that escalated to vehemence for those who fell short of his high standards. He had a beautiful tenor voice and starred in many of Jack Herman's pantomimes and entertainments at Sudbury. Latterly, he gave himself to singing in old peoples' homes where he was much loved. He bore pain with fortitude and his refusal to give way to it was typical of a man who placed the greater good above personal ease. Our deepest sympathy goes to wife Liz, whose loving support brought this tough but vulnerable man much happiness and helped him through the last years.

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