Obituary: Mr Ian Wickens

Long Standing Staff Member passes Away

Date published: Mon 14 Dec 2020   Author: HLH   Category: General   Share: Share on facebookShare on TwitterShare on MySpaceShare by Email

It is with great sadness that the School announce that Mr Ian Wickens passed away on the 14th December after 48 years connected to the School.

Mr Wickens worked under four different Headteachers having started at TBSHS in 1972 under the tenure of Headmaster Ron Davies, followed by Ian Shaw and Andrew Goulding before 'retiring' in 2008. In 2016, under Headteacher Dale Reeve, he returned to the School as an exam invigilator.

Mr Wickens had taught every subject on the curriculum, over his years in teaching, before becoming the Bursar, ("In charge of the money!" - I. Shaw) under Ian Shaw. During the time of Andrew Goulding he moved to take on the role of Exams Officer, until his retirement in 2008. Over the last four years he had enjoyed a part time role which kept him busy during his retirement.

As a geography teacher, Ian was always very interested in the natural world and travelled extensively,  particularly since his retirement and always managed his trips himself, booking only the flights and first night accomodation and going when and where the spirit led him and his wife, across all seven continents.

Ian's late son, David Wickens,  went through the School, becoming Head Boy in 1998 before going up to Selwyn College, Cambridge to read history.

Ian leaves a wife Angela and daughter Sally, and son David's two grandchildren.

He will be fondly remembered by all who knew him as a kind and gentle man.

“Many staff had known Ian for a long time and are acutely aware of just how dedicated he was to the school; absolutely Black & Gold. I knew him as a warm, generous man who had clearly contributed so much to TBSHS over such a long time; we owe him a huge debt of gratitude. Ian will be sorely missed and our deepest sympathies are with his family, they will remain in our thoughts and prayers at this most difficult of times."  

Mr Reeve, Headteacher


Ian Wickens funeral took place on the 13th January 2021. The School was represented at the funeral, under strict Covid rules, by Mr Reeve and several present and former, staff.


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Tribute messages to Mr Wickens

When I joined the school in September 1982 Ian warmly welcomed me into his tutorial team. As a natural team player, Ian led his tutors with conviction, compassion and a steely determination to support us daily in raising our tutees expectations and improving their personal attitude to learning.

As a leader he was a pure soul. Ian had a heart of gold, basically just genuine and loyal to the core. His depth of kindness and willingness to help others always shone forth. You could always depend on him being there when in need and would support you, no matter what it may entail. Ian always took his responsibilities very seriously.

As the School evolved Ian mastered every new role and portfolio of responsibilities in his own inimitable way - his hard working attitude was an inspiration to us all. Ian was always ready to learn new skills typically viewing this positively as a challenge. He would embark in an intelligent, detail-oriented way, with a tenacious approach which was invariably fruitful. This level of commitment and accomplishment at TBSHS throughout his life will always be respected and cherished.

He was a dear friend to me who always made the time to listen, actually ‘hear’ your story and proffered shrewd counsel when sought. Ian was a true gentleman or gentle man, who was wise beyond words.

Fond memories of a truly great colleague who touched the lives of so many people and worked tremendously hard in contributing to the School’s transformational journey over time.

My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with all of Ian’s family.
Paul Noble, Former Deputy Headmaster

I was incredibly sad to hear of the very sad passing of Ian. When I started at the school as Deputy Headteacher, Ian was one member of staff who helped me settle in. He showed great kindness and words of wisdom, particularly in helping me understand some of the great traditions of TBSHS.   Please do pass on my sincerest condolences to the whole of the TBSHS community and to his family. 

Tim Litchfield, Former Deputy Headteacher

I had been thinking about Angie and Ian just this week, as he kindly met me from the station when I came to your splendid awards evening this time last year They kindly also provided tea, company and news of so many people.

Ian (the Head) was so fortunate to have such a man on the staff , both professionally and as a man of honour and a good friend.                                                                                                                                         Barbara Shaw

Terribly sad news. Mr. Exams as he was known, a gentleman. My thoughts are with his family and friends and those @TBSHS connected to him. #blackandgold                                                                                  Josh Ward

I have just read the sad news about Ian passing. I was at TBSHS with his son David and remember what a great man Ian was. So caring, thoughtful and always had time for people - he really was part of what made the school such a fantastic place to be. 

Thoughts and prayers are with all the community at TBSHS and of course his family. 
James Pooley 
I was so sad to hear from Barbara (Shaw) about Ian's death. During my time at TBSHS I was one of the staff reps on the PTA and after every meeting the two Ians, (Shaw and Wickens), Ray Franklin (Chairman) and I would head off to the Tanner's Arms and chew the cud over a couple of pints and a cigar or two. He was always joking about his office in the back passage. Ian was a lovely man with a great sense of humour and a wonderful colleague.
Catherine Buck (Science Teacher and Head of Year 1992-1996)
So sad to hear about Ian. Great memories of him during my time as a governor at the school. Always cheery with a great sense of humour. He lightened up many a meeting.
David Royle

Very sad to hear the news about Ian.

I had the pleasure of “working” with Ian through PTA and Governor roles whilst he was the school Bursar and also as Exams Officer when my three sons went through the exam process at TBSHS.

He was a kind and lovely man who had the black and gold running through his veins.  A generous man; as part of a fundraising event, he kindly donated a large number of old football programmes he had collected over the years helping to raise a significant amount.  He also worked tirelessly sorting all the “takings” at the Christmas and Summer Fayres, a great deal of which was in small denomination coins – no easy task!

One of TBSHS’s greatest friends who will be missed by those who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Our thoughts are with his family.
Liz Webber – TBSHS parent
An absolute honour to have known such a gentle-man. You meet such rare gems in life and it was our privilege to consider you a friend. You will be greatly missed by all my friend. Heartfelt condolences to your family. May God bless you all.                                                                                                                                              Helena Duffy
I was very sorry to hear about Ian's passing..
I met him when our son, Stuart was a student, and I served on the PTA.
Ian was a lovely man, and a gentleman.
I'm sure he will be greatly missed by the school and particularly by his family.

Please pass this on to his family with my kind regards.

Colin Jeffrey

To all staff members,
Sending our condolences on the loss of Mr Wickens.
Charlotte Reed(Alice Year 13)

I am really shocked and immensely saddened by the tragic passing of Ian Wickens. My condolences to everyone concerned

I was very lucky to have met Ian when our son Ryan Daniels started at TBSHS in 2004 He encouraged me to become part of the exams invigilating team of which I was very honoured and proud to be part of.  The skills he passed on are still with me today as I continue still to invigilate in London where I relocated to in 2013 and often think of Ian. We often spoke about our mutual support of West Ham United FC and know Ian was a life long fan like myself.  I was glad when I saw him whilst on a visit to Bishop’s Stortford a while ago that he was back at TBSHS invigilating.

He was a kind and generous man and I know many staff and students both past and present will remember him fondly especially his dry sense of humour and life experiences which he used to great affect when gaining respect and admiration.  He always managed to make people feel at ease and was extremely proud on results day of the students success.

My thoughts and prays are with Angela his lovely wife, who I met a few times, his daughter Sally and grandchildren. RIP
Angela Daniels
So sad to hear of the death of my former maths teacher, Ian Wickens. I was definitely not a maths natural and his patience and kindness made it a subject I could deal with. He was a truly lovely teacher-I’m sure all at @TBSHS will miss him hugely.                                                                                                                    Steve Pinches
A great friend and colleague. I taught with Ian for 15 years at TBSHS. I always remember the day I went to ask him for some chalk. Out came a box. He took out a stick. Snapped it is half and gave me one half of one stick.
Paul Hughes
Mr Wickens taught me in the 70s . He was a great teacher and a kind and generous man. I met him again when doing some work in the school about 10 years ago. He was so helpful and supportive of what we are doing. Sending best thoughts to his family.                                                                                                                Paul Bamlett
Very sad news indeed. I worked for Ian as an exam invigilator for a number of years. He was a TBSHS legend and very appreciative towards his staff. He didn’t put up with any ‘nonsense’ in the exam hall. RIP Mr Wickens. 
Juliet Scantlebury

I first met Ian Wickens back in 2004 when I offered to come into school as a parent to add an extra pair of hands during the summer examinations. The following year I became one of the first external invigilators to be employed by the school. Ian taught me everything needed to know about invigilating including organisational skills of setting up and running exam rooms, how to deal with challenging students and how to have compassion and consideration for students during examination periods. When Ian left TBSHS in 2008 it is one of my regrets that I did not apply for the position of examinations officer at that point as I knew, that he knew, I could do the job and do it well. I did in fact become examinations officer in 2015 and it was only a year later when I met Ian in school at a retirement 'do' for another member of staff that he asked me very politely if I would consider taking him on as an invigilator or whether that would be 'awkward'. I told him I would be delighted as long as he did it my way! He saw the joke in that.

Ian was always professional, polite and compassionate to others. Many of our newer invigilators looked to him as a mentor when learning the ropes of what can often be complex examination regulations and administration. Many students will remember his calmness during a stressful time in their lives and also some of his catchphrases such as ' when you leave the exam room, do not pass go, do not collect £200...' At one point there was even a Facebook page dedicated to the appreciation of Ian and his sayings.  

Ian was a true gentleman and a true black and gold legend. The exams department will miss his presence enormously. Our hearts go out to his wife and family. May he rest in peace.
Sarah Watts, Examinations Officer
Very gentle man. Rest in peace.                                                                              James Walters, Former Head Boy
It is so sad to hear of Ian’s passing.  I will always remember him as a dedicated, long standing member of TBSHS staff.  In my last few months as a pupil, he ‘summoned’ me to his office, which was buried deep within the school’s maze of corridors encircling the Foyer.  I’d been at the school for many years and thought I knew every inch of it, but I had never ventured this far into this dark area.  Those corridors were narrow and bewildering, and you could lose your bearings.  “Oh no…” I thought.  “Why does Mr Wickens want to see me?”  I’d never really had dealings with Mr Wickens, and he could see I was apprehensive – or was that because I was dazed by the unfamiliar corridors?  “Oh, everyone worries when I want to see them!” he said.

His reason for summoning me?  He was liaising with what is now the Department for Work and Pensions to secure long-term disability benefits for me, as well as informing them of my future role as a volunteer at TBSHS.  He reassured me he would deal with it all – and he did.  Once I started as a volunteer teaching assistant, Ian was on hand to provide advice whenever I asked for it.  I have been thinking a great deal about the conversations we had and how many of them remain so relevant.  He was a great mentor.

Although Ian’s family and close friends will miss him deeply, I do hope they will be comforted by the positive messages left by others who were fortunate enough to have spent time with him, learning from his decades of experience.  My deepest condolences.  Rest in peace, Ian.
Carl Stock
Former pupil (1990 intake)
Former ICT Support Assistant (1998–2000)

The true heroes are not the people you have seen on a screen and do not really know. They are the people you just walked past. They are in your school and local community. They are in your family. The true heroes are standing right in front of you. Mr. Ian Wickens was and is one such hero. 

No one showed the values of The Bishop’s Stortford High School, “The Black and Gold Spirit”, more than Mr. Ian Wickens. For Mr. Wickens was a true gentleman and true professional who always had every time for students and staff and exhibited the values of TBSHS – commitment, aspiration, respect, integrity and community - in everything he did and in every word he spoke on every day. In short, he did everything properly. Furthermore, Mr. Wickens was someone who was always more concerned about others more than himself.  

A truly global citizen and a fine geographer who lived his subject, Mr. Wickens had the greatest interest in places and people and travelled the world, always learning, questioning, discovering and exploring. Last year, you heard a piece Mr. Wickens wrote for TBSHS’ Christmas services on his wonderful visit to Bethlehem at Christmas two years ago. With typical modesty, he did not want credited. That was not his style. Empathy, humility, meticulous organisation, kindness, patience, wisdom and judgement were particular hallmarks.

Sir Isaac Newton once wrote the following in a letter to a rival scientist: “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Today, we are very fortunate to stand on the shoulders of TBSHS giants of the past who continue to shape our present and future. Mr. Wickens is one such giant. For one example amongst so many, Mr. Wickens helped sow the seeds for Jobbers Wood. At the time, schools across the country were having to sell their playing fields whilst Headmaster Mr. Shaw, of course, and Mr. Wickens, TBSHS Senior Management Team and other key school leaders were buying them. In so many ways, the history of the school is his history for Mr. Wickens served the school across five if not six separate decades, a remarkable forty-eight year association out of seventy years of total school history. An inspirational lifetime of public service. Ever the humble servant, Mr. Wickens, like Mr. Shaw, always gave the credit to others. Like Mr. Shaw, he thanked everyone else apart from himself. Mr. Wickens felt a massive debt of gratitude to Mr. Shaw who gave Mr Wickens opportunities and trust in Financial, Senior and Pastoral Leadership. 

Like father, like son. We were equally blessed that Mr. Wickens’ son David attended TBSHS. David became Head Boy and was a truly outstanding student leader before excelling, reading History, at Selwyn College, Cambridge University, and in his life and leadership beyond and across the world. David’s leadership, intelligence, passion, verve, integrity and community spirit was also extraordinary.  

It was wonderful to hear Mr. Wickens speak so glowingly of TBSHS of today when he visited to invigilate examinations. He was so impressed with the students of Mr. Reeve’s school. And even now, after all these years, Mr. Wickens was still showing his wonderful values, our wonderful values, as he invigilated. It truly is an astonishing achievement to be so brilliantly consistent, as Mr. Wickens was, through the seasons and through the years, in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening.  

Mr. Wickens loved his sport, especially football and cricket and was a keen West Ham United supporter. The West Ham United who played a pivotal role in the Men’s Football World Cup Win of 1966. Still the greatest. Iron in the soul.

This week and beyond we are very sad beyond words. But, as with all the loved and lost at TBSHS and beyond, we are very grateful to have known such a truly wonderful human being. We will always remember Mr. Wickens and be inspired by him. We will always remember and be inspired by the staff and students who were with Mr. Wickens and gave him the greatest care on his final day at The Bishop’s Stortford High School, a school that he greatly loved and a school that greatly loved him. Most of all, our thoughts and prayers will be with Mr. Ian Wickens and his family now and always.  

Thank you for everything, Mr. Wickens. You are us and we are you.

Simon Etheridge,  TBSHS