Obituary: Peter Pyemont (11 May 1939)

Peter was a pupil at St Bede's Prep School in Eastbourne where he excelled at Sport.

He then went to Marlborough College where he represented the School at hockey and cricket and reached the final of the Public Schools Rackets. On leaving School he did National Service with the Black Watch and the Royal Sussex Regiments. He played tennis, squash and hockey for Sussex, captaining the hockey team for several years. He captained the Eastbourne Cricket Club, played for the MCC and was a first class ski judge.

He became Headmaster of St Bede's Prep School at the age of 25, and remained Head for the next 35 years. He then stayed on as Head of History for a further 10 years.

In 1989, he was one of the first winners of the Frank Fisher Memorial Prize presented by the Ecclesiastical Insurance Company. He wrote a thesis on what 'the West could learn from the East' and travelled for three months in India, Nepal, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Japan and Singapore. He taught in Schools and met Ministers of Education. His conclusion 'the World is growing steadily smaller and its people are remarkably similar - most are so friendly, so eager to help, so willing to talk, so ready to laugh.'

The Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and Peter went to old east Germany and 'set up' the highly successful European Experience, where parties of children and their teachers came to Eastbourne for two to three weeks to experience life in an English Boarding School, to visit places of interest and to learn English.   

In retirement, Peter set up 'Talking Heads' with brother Christopher and went all over the country and abroad talking on subjects as diverse as the First World War, the History of Skiing, the Olympic Games and The Queen.

He became a founder of Gildredge House Free School and was very sad when he had to step down due to ill health.

Eddie Izzard, former pupil, has given him a credit in his film 'Six Seconds to Midnight' starring Dame Judi Dench and due to be released shortly.   

His life is perhaps best summed up in a Christmas card sent to him by a little Persian boy, who, after his first term at Bede's Prep wrote 'You be good man in our School'.

Peter Pyemont, regarded by many as one of the finest Prep School Headmasters of his generation. 

A celebration of Peter Pyemont's life will be held at Bede's Senior School, Upper Dicker, on Saturday 27 June. All are welcome, to assist with numbers please complete the form below.

No flowers please, but donations would be greatly appreciated to Pevensey Unit Fund District General Hospital (Eastbourne) or St Wilfrid's Hospice (Eastbourne).

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