10 days ago on the last day of half term, my Dad died. Even though he was 84 and we could all see it coming it has hit me like a sledgehammer and the past week I have found my motivation and concentration all over the place.
My Dad was a great musician. The son of a butcher who chose not to go into the family business but to follow his dream and study music and then earn a living from it. As a performer, teacher and Dad he was simply the best. There is a picture at my parents house of me aged around 18 months sitting on a piano stool and that is pretty much where I stayed for the next 18 years. My Dad was my music teacher and what looking back i now find amazing is that it worked! Hardly ever did we fall out and when I took a year out between A levels and going to Royal Holloway to study music we spent 2-3 hours a day, Monday to Friday working to make me a better pianist so I would be able to hold my own at University. These are my memories and there are loads more but not for this blog. I have spent the last week remembering him and wondering why at the age of 53 did I still phone him almost every day and tell him what I was doing. I think it was because he is still the person who inspires me the most. He believed in hard work but he believed that creativity and emotion was something that no pianist could live without. He wanted the best for the students he taught and he challenged them to be the best they could be. He loved the idea I became a headteacher and I think privately thought that I had tea and tiffin most days at 3 30pm which I never dissuaded him from even though 3 30pm for the past 29 years has been more about buses and meetings than relaxation! He did however completely get the fact that my passion is to make the difference to young people. He talked with me for hours about the students in Bristol and why they were so in need of something different and he loved the idea that we trained our own teachers and created the platform for more students to go to Vi Form and then to University
So there we are. My inspiration and mentor is no longer there for the daily phone call but my memories are rich and will remain undiminished every day that I work with the CLF team to give the children we teach the type of opportunities he gave me. A wonderful man.