No. 203

OSB Logo The Old St Beghian
  July 2023


George Robson writes about David Pecker (FN 59-64):

“I am sure that every Old St Beghian made special friends that endured long after school days were over.

David Pecker became my bosom friend throughout our years together at school (1957 to 1964) and we kept in touch for many years after that.

We were both attached to Eaglesfield and after that Foundation North, and we sat side by side in class, specialising in the same subjects.

David's father was a senior administrator with the Colonial Office and spent much of his career serving at Government House in Accra - the capital of our then colony of the Gold Coast (now known as Ghana).

With his parents so distant it was always a problem as to where David should spend the school holidays, and on occasions he spent time with my family in Northumberland.

OSB Notes - george Robson
David Pecker (1963)

After leaving school he spent a few years in the army - he had always been keen on the school's cadet force - but then decided to turn to teaching. At this time, he changed his surname from PECKER to PACKER for reasons I'll leave others to conjecture over!

After only a few years as a schoolmaster David felt driven to become an overseas social worker and spent a number of years giving humanitarian aid to the poorest people in what was by then called Ghana. Of course, during these years David and I kept in touch, and I still retain some of the letters he sent me. Scouring through them I have come across these phrases:
‘We try to create lasting change’
‘We have a vision of a fair world’

Then tragedy! No doubt as a consequence of working in some of the poorest and unhealthiest areas of Ghana he contracted some kind of swamp disease. His health declined so much that he was sent for treatment back in England. But he became so debilitated that he succumbed - still in his mid-forties.

As I pointed out at the November 2022 North East Branch Dinner, our school was founded in the same year (1583) that England claimed its first overseas possession (Newfoundland) and thus beginning what grew to be the British Empire.

Hundreds of Old St Beghians will have, with David Pecker as a noble example, devoted their lives to humanitarian aspects of our Empire's/Commonwealth’s history. The years move on but this tradition of serving those less fortunate in distant lands continues.

Yes, I learnt a lot during my friendship with David. I do so much miss him.”

Perhaps Old St Beghians can point to Old Boys and Old Girls that have involved themselves in work similar to David's?




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