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Many parents and former pupils will be saddened to hear that the Reverend Canon Graham Foulis Brown, who has been associated with Brockhurst for just over 50 years, died in the Royal Berks Hospital on 26 June 2020 aged 69.
Graham came to Brockhurst as a young teacher in 1970. He prepared classes in the senior part of the school, for Common Entrance and Scholarship English. His special interest was teaching drama where his particular gift was skilfully to abridge plays so that they became manageable to his youthful drama classes. At this time performances were always in the Great Hall. Two that persist in this writer’s mind as memorable examples from the period are an exceptionally bloodthirsty version of the Scottish play - these were twelve year-old boys remember - bedecked with quantities of vegetation from the school shrubbery to represent Great Birnam Wood. The oak panelling of the Great Hall also lent a darkly menacing backdrop to Graham’s moving adaptation of Jean Anouilh’s Becket.
In those years Graham also indulged his passion for Morris Mini Minors. One especially gaudy one was an horrific mustard-yellow, embellished as always with go-faster stripes, a large, shiny exhaust system and real leather interior trim.
Jane and Nick Park were busy starting their family at this time so Jane, who had been employed as an assistant matron in 1972, needed an assistant herself. The young lady that Jonathan Pudden duly employed was a fun-filled Norfolk lass named Felicity. And in the fullness of time she escorted Graham to meet her parents in the village of Reedham deep in the flat lands of the fens. Soon after we heard that she was to become Mrs Brown.
Graham showed no intention of making school-mastering a lifelong career for he felt called instead to minister in the Church of England. In 1980 he joined St Stephen’s House theological college in Oxford, where he and Felicity lived in married ordinands’ quarters. He was ordained Deacon in 1982 and Priest in 1983, serving his training years in Hungerford, and then Launton, near Bicester, before moving with Felicity and their two children to become rector of Kidmore End where he served for twenty five years. Parish reorganisations meant that eventually Graham was caring for the souls of people in no fewer than six parishes.
Throughout his time as a priest, and indeed even after his retirement, Graham gave unstintingly of his time to support innumerable Brockhurst ventures. For many years he invigilated the Common Entrance Examination; hardly a Carol Service passed without Graham’s mellifluous tones officiating on one of the evenings; he stepped in willingly to preach at Leavers’ Services at the end of summer terms and very many Brockhurst teachers have reason to be deeply grateful to Graham who presided over their family christenings, weddings and funerals.