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Oliver Alan Hughes (YG 1945)
24 October 2021
Old Scholars will be saddened to hear the news of the death of Oliver Alan Hughes (YG 1945). Known as Ollie to his family but by his preferred name of Alan by his friends and neighbours, he died peacefully on the 1st August 2021 at the age of 94.

Richard Hughes (YG 1975), his nephew, wrote to the Old Scholars with the following account of Alan's life.

Alan came to Friends' School in the autumn of 1938 and remained a pupil all the way through the War years. He routinely rode his Sunbeam Silver Sports bicycle from his home in Hove on the south coast, across a war-torn London, to Saffron Walden at the start of term. He treasured his time at the School, and came back for Old Scholars events regularly, attending the OSA reunion held at the School in 2016. For Alan, like many other old scholars, the closing of the School in 2017 was very distressing.

At Friends' School, under the guidance of music teachers Noreen Wright and later Stanley Thorne, Alan learnt the violin and played in the school orchestra which set him up for a life-long love of music: he was still playing viola in the Halesowen Amature Orchestra right up until the first Covid lockdown forced the cancellation of his orchestra's performance in April last year!

After leaving school, Alan completed his studies at Brighton Technical College and then later London School of Economics (after a 2 year spell of National Service in Egypt, which he did not overly enjoy!).

Early in his career Alan got into engineering, working for Sturtevant and Dexion, and became the sales director with the company Bahco (tools and ventilation) in the 1970s. Alan cut loose in 1979 to form his own company Alan Hughes Distributors with his new wife Gwen as co-director, marketing small-tools in the West Midlands where he lived ever since.

Alan retired in 2000 having sold-up his business, but suffered a near fatal heart attack in the same year. This event re-focused him on his well-being and he began walking, and not by halves... he was still walking up to 25 miles a day right up until suffering a nasty fall in 2016 which required surgery to both knees.

After this his walking ambitions lowered but not his love and enthusiasm for life.
Ultimately though it was the Covid lockdown in the Spring/Summer of 2020 that really knocked him back. Living on his own and remaining fiercely independent, he couldn't fully understand why people, his family, friends and neighbours (i.e. his life) would not come and visit him any more. In practice, like many others, his mental health suffered badly during this time and he never regained the quality of life he enjoyed before the lockdown. Rest in peace Ollie - you were a true gentleman.

Special thanks must go to former FSSW OSA Secretary, Steffanie Godfrey who was very kind to Alan in recent years and who took a keen interest in his former time at FSSW.
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