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Funeral information for much-loved Rydal Head Peter Watkinson
August 12, 2020

The Rydal Penrhos family is warmly invited to listen to the funeral service of much-loved former Headmaster Peter Watkinson later this month.

Mr Watkinson held the position at Rydal School from 1968-91, and he oversaw some landmark changes across the site including the transition to a fully co-educational school, which continues to be of benefit to those learning at Rydal Penrhos to this day.

His funeral service will be held on Friday 21 August from 12.30pm, but due to current restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, only family will be able to attend.

There will be a chance for those wishing to listen to the service to do so online. It will be available live and also following the funeral.

Anyone wishing to listen to Mr Watkinson’s service can do so here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nKJJMc6PScefwyUCczUQlQ

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the virtual event.

Mr Watkinson’s passion to make the school a better place was evident throughout the entirety of his time as Head. The Art Studio was officially completed from 1969-70, and two squash courts were also built around the same period.

In 1984, Mr Watkinson oversaw the construction of Rydal’s Technology Centre that houses the school’s Design Technology department, and a Music School was also completed during this period.

Mr Watkinson was Headmaster for Rydal’s centenary in 1985, at which time there were more than 500 boys and girls in the Senior and Prep Schools combined.

He stepped down from his post in 1991 and in recognition of his exceptional dedication to the school, the Watkinson Library was named in his honour, which is now home to the Business department.

Lucy Davies, former pupil and Head of Prep School, said: “Peter Watkinson or ‘Chiz’ (on account of his very chiselled profile) as he was known to all pupils, was equally revered and loved by all pupils.

“I never heard a bad word spoken about him. He was my sixth form Headmaster at Rydal and, as a prefect, we would be given instructions as to what he wanted doing in regards to all areas of pupil school life, including quad duties, chapel behaviour and how loud the singing should be which accompanied home rugby matches at New Field on a Saturday afternoon.

“I sometimes felt that I was being educated in a school for boys but I think Chiz was the Headmaster who really removed that notion; he genuinely wanted the girls’ voices to be heard and treated equally and he never treated us in any sort of tokenistic way, indeed he did not distinguish us from the boys.

“I remember once saying that it was difficult for a girl prefect to lead singing practice in the quad (this happened before a home match and was led without masters present and with several hundred younger pupils, 80% of whom were boys). He replied, “Why?”. I explained that I couldn’t sing baritone and felt conspicuous singing alto with so many lower voices. He replied, without a moment’s hesitation, “Well Vera Lynn did it, didn’t she?” I couldn’t think of a reply to this, so stepped out in front of the throng and just got on with it!

“Peter Watkinson was a Headmaster who led by example, who inspired both pupils and staff, and was missed by all after his retirement in 1991. He was a strong family man and my thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.”