Richard Anderson to retire

Richard Anderson has been teaching Modern Languages (French and German) at Boston Grammar School since 1971 and in doing so has inspired generations of Boston “lads” as he would call them. But his real lasting impression on those lads has often been from extra-curricular activities, having supervised clubs on topics from Cross Country to Subbuteo, and from model Railways to German.

It’s difficult to choose where he has made the greatest impression but some of the highlights would be:

  • Leading the Charity Club to raise thousands of pounds for all sorts of charities
  • Leading the Schuhplattler Gruppe to perform its German style dancing at home and abroad over 700 times including appearances on television
  • Leading lads to success in General Knowledge local, regional and national competitions
  • Leading the Grammar Gazette to be what I understand is the longest running school student run newspaper in the country (I stand to be corrected if that is not the case)
And now, having easily passed the historical teaching retirement mark of 60 (thanks to government policy), Richard is preparing to put down his red pen for the last time, retiring on 31 August 2014, so the current term is his last as a teacher.
Some of us have contemplated in the past what Richard would do after retirement. Once when I asked his friend and former colleague, Ron Abbott, if he could contact Richard for me (before the age of school email addresses), he said that short of throwing a rock with a message attached over the school wall there wasn’t much he could do. So dedicated has Richard been to the school, or really more accurately to “the lads” (although some are in fact now “lassies”), and the hours he has put in are surely matched by few in any profession.
In fact Richard’s plans for retirement are to split his time between Boston, where he has made many friends, and regularly meets former students, who he calls “blasts from the past”, the North East, his home territory and still home for one of his brothers, and Germany, where his other brother lives. Let’s hope we continue seeing Richard around for many years to come and let’s wish him a very happy retirement!

16 thoughts on “Richard Anderson to retire

  1. Thanks for everything Mr A. A true inspiration and a real big part of what I have done in my life. Enjoy retirement sir. You deserve it.

  2. Simon – Is there any plan to give RWA a send off, even if it were just toassemble in the yard to applaud him as he leaves? I would be very interested in attending if at all possible. It is only with the passing of time one realises the impact a man such as RWA has on your life; they are so rare!

  3. If I was in Boston, I would be keen to organise some sort of "do" for RWA, but I don't think it is practical from Ilkley. I would still be keen to attend any event that is organised.

  4. Mark, and all the others who asked. I don't know whether anyone is planning a "do". I too am distant from Boston but I have tried to plant a seed. If it grows or if I hear of anything else being organised it will appear here, or on the Facebook "Boston Grammar School Alumni" group as soon as I can get my fingers typing.

  5. Great teacher and character, I'm now 30 and Mr Anderson and his lessons are some of the most memorable times from school days.I especially remember his leadership in the ill fated trip to Zell Am See resulting in the bus crashing on the way home and us all flying home, after touring with the Schuhplattler and rock band 'Purple' in Austria. Enjoy your retirement 'Mr A' you've earn't it.

  6. When I look back on my life, I can honestly think of no one who had such a positive and meaningful impact as Richard Anderson. I first entered his class as a hapless 14-year-old suffering the dire effects of divorce and emotional abuse. Four years later, I left BGS a Parry Gold Medal winner and the only member of my peer group to gain an Oxbridge place – to study German, of course. I went on to get a Ph.D. in German, something that would have been unthinkable just a decade before.

    Yet, as I get older, I realise that the most important contribution made by RWA to my life had absolutely nothing to do with German. Mr. Anderson built up my confidence to the point at which I genuinely felt invincible. "Spread your wings and fly," he often told me. The Lincolnshire lad went to Oxford and beat off the private school elite. The real lesson was never grammar tables and vocab lists; it was the right attitude in life. On a personal level, I have never achieved as much as when I was under Mr. Anderson's tutelage.

    It would be fitting to see this great man off in appropriate style. Probably most of us can count the people who have significantly changed our lives for the better on one hand. I would be willing to wager that hundreds upon hundreds of Old Bostonians would raise that hand high in the air.

  7. I now live in Andorra, having worked in France & Austria……..thanks to RWA giving me the language skills to do so.
    He taught me values & respect (including not teaching me for a couple of months because my hair was too long…..I gave him the hair he didn't approve of).
    I have three daughters that wouldn't exist if it wasn't for him. Wishing him a long and enjoyable retirement………

  8. A real inspiration. I have many fond memories of school activities organised by Mr A from clubs and cross country meetings to summer trips. My only disappointment is that he is leaving as my son will be starting at the school in September. I hope he enjoys and long and happy retirement, it is well deserved.

  9. I want to be completely open about this. Today a comment was left on this post which was automatically marked for moderation (by me). The reason this happened was that I have set up this blog to ask for comments on articles more than 14 days old to be moderated rather than that they are automatically published. This is not to censor genuine posters but to filter some of the spam we get.

    In this case however, the poster clearly knows Richard Anderson and has a negative view of him. I realise he's not alone in having such a view and if the comment had been posted in the first days after the article was posted I would have allowed it through. As it is I spent some time considering what to do. In the end I have not approved the post for publication, not because it is negative but because it was posted anonymously.

  10. Just heard the news. Mr A was a one off. We always thought of him as our own, " Mr Chips. " Thank you for all the hard work and fond memories.

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