A FORMER head of humanities at Noadswood School and rugby enthusiast Wally Wright has died at the age of 85.
Described by his daughter Katharine as an extremely generous and kind man, Wally was a huge sports fan – playing for Bournemouth Rugby Club for a number of years before going on to serve as president and chairman. He was also president of Dorset and Wilts Rugby Union Club from 2000 to 2007.
Born in Chepstow in Wales in October 1933, Walter, known as Wally, was the youngest of three children with a sister called Eva and a brother called Basil.
He began his education at a local primary school, which was commandeered as a base for American Soldiers during the Second World War – leading to lots of adventures.
His love of rugby developed from a young age playing for his school and village teams. He secured a place at Larkfield Grammar School and then went on to Aberystwyth University, where he read politics, geography and geology.
Wally and his future wife Barbara, grew up in neighbouring villages and attended primary school together.
They both trained as teachers and after qualifying in 1957, Wally began his first job at Beaufort School in Bournemouth teaching geology and geography. He and Barbara were married in 1958, and around the same time they moved to a bungalow in Christchurch.
Barbara worked as a teacher at Pokesdown Primary School, and Wally remained at Beaufort School for a number of years before moving to Noadswood School in Dibden Purlieu where he was head of humanities.
The couple celebrated the birth of their daughter Katharine in 1959, followed by Nigel in 1962 and Hilary in 1964.
Katharine said: “Our childhood was wonderful – we were always outside having adventures. We spent our holidays climbing Ben Nevis and Snowdon or camping and fossil hunting at Kimmeridge Bay.”
Sport was a huge part of Wally’s life and after moving to Bournemouth he played club and county rugby – before becoming a lifelong president and chairman of Bournemouth Rugby Club during the 1970s and 1980s.
Alongside his teaching job Wally also dedicated huge amounts of his time and energy to working with the colts and junior teams. He was very proud when his son Nigel won a rugby scholarship to Bryanston School, and later went on to play Rugby Union for England.
He was also a longstanding member of Barton Golf Club.
Wally and Barbara loved outdoor adventures spending happy holidays mountain climbing in Austria and Switzerland. They were also keen gardeners – growing abundant fruit and vegetables in their well-tended garden.
In retirement Wally supported Barbara with her charity work as vice-chairman of the Christchurch branch of Save the Children. They were also devoted grandparents to their seven grandchildren – helping out with childcare when their parents returned to work.
Katharine said: “My father was a wonderful man who spent his life doing things for other people. The contributions he made to society were huge.”
Sadly Barbara died in February 2018, and although he missed her hugely Wally continued to live life to its fullest and was delighted when Wales achieved the Rugby Union grand slam earlier this year.
He died peacefully on 7th April on what would have been his 61st wedding anniversary. He is survived by his children, seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
A celebration of Wally’s life was held at Hinton Park Woodland Burial Ground on Monday 13th May at 12.30pm followed by a buffet and drinks at Barton Golf Club.
Anyone wishing to donate in Wally’s memory can give to Diabetes UK c/o Hinton Park Woodland Burial Ground.