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Charles Speight (OS 1944 & Former Chairman of Governors)

Charles Edmund Speight – 1928-2015

Known to everyone as Charlie, he was an Old Stopfordian to the core, and an elected Distinguished Life Member. He came to SGS when awarded a Foundation Scholarship in 1940. Academically he was very bright, and in addition he won the school Manual prize in 1941.

Charlie was a bright but determined pupil, who served West House and the School well. After an excellent School Certificate he chose Accountancy as a career and was articled to a Manchester firm at the age of 16. In today’s world he would certainly have done well at University, but in those wartime years, life was quite different. Many boys left School after taking School Cert. (the forerunner of ‘O’ Levels) for careers in Accountancy, Banking, Insurance, Civil Service and Local Government etc. They would then complete their qualifications by Correspondence Course, Night School or Day Release etc. (all in the midst of the uncertainty of a vicious war!)

By the time he was 18, and due for call-up for military service, the war had finished, and Charlie was already well advanced in taking his professional qualifications. He volunteered to join the RAF as his military service, but his early experiences were quite dramatic, and he was in fact lucky to escape with his life. As he was travelling by train in Egypt to report to a new posting, he decided to go for a drink in the restaurant car and left his seat. Shortly afterwards he heard a violent explosion and realised it must have been a terrorist bomb. When he was able to return he found that his former compartment had been completely destroyed along with his former companions. The story was fully covered by BBCTV last year in their Remembrance Day programme.

After demobilisation, he duly completed his studies and became a Chartered Accountant. He was soon offered a Partnership and enjoyed a very successful career in Manchester. In his spare time he took on many charitable positions such as Hon. Treasurer, Hon. Secretary, Auditor, Chairman etc. and was in much demand as all these services were given freely and in his own time. The many “Representatives” at his funeral showed just how widely he was appreciated.

Charlie was a member of Bramhall Park Golf Club and served as Club Treasurer for many years, although his own golfing prowess was cut short due to back problems.

He was President of the OSA in 1988-89, and later was invited to join the Board of SGS where his professional experience was invaluable. He went on to be appointed Chairman of Governors and was most successful in steering the School through a pivotal period in its continual development.

Bridge became Charlie’s favourite pastime and he was respected by everyone. In every way he was proud of being an Old Stopfordian, determined to give something back to the School in exchange for the fine education he had received, and the opportunities it had provided. He was an example to us all, and I know he will be sorely missed by Jo, his wife, Jill and Kate, his daughters, his grandchildren and, of course, his many friends.

For me, Charlie’s death came as a deep personal loss, as he also found time to be my Best Man in 1952 (and I had been his Form Captain from 1940 to 1944).

Rest in peace, my friend.

Joe Barnes

(Past President OSA 1970-1971 and School Governor 1978-1998)

Mr Speight’s funeral was held on Thursday 20th August at Stockport Crematorium and afterwards at Bramhall Park Golf Club.

Old Stops’ Review

Our annual magazine which features news from and interviews with Old Stopfordians, memories of times gone by and highlights from the past school year.