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News > Alumni News > Staff Leavers > Staff Leavers 2017: Charles Dawson (89-17S) and Emma Dawson (05-17S)

Staff Leavers 2017: Charles Dawson (89-17S) and Emma Dawson (05-17S)

Charles Dawson (89-17S) and Emma Dawson (05-17S)
Charles Dawson (89-17S) and Emma Dawson (05-17S)
Charles Dawson joined West Buckland School in September 1989.  He felt he wanted to be nearer to the coast than his previous post in the Midlands.  Initially, due to the proximity of his rooms to the house dormitory, he was an assistant Housemaster in Grenville House.
He met Emma through their mutual friend, Yvonne Helicon one evening at The Poltimore Arms when they discovered they had a mutual love of kayaking.
He was, and still is, a great lover of outdoor and adventurous activities and his skills were soon pounced upon by the school Combined Cadet Force.  As a consequence of his skill levels at all things military, he was appointed Head of the Army section, and (now) Captain Dawson continued to run the section for 15 years.
He took over the organisation of the West Buckland School Teams for the Ten Tors Challenge and, in those days, it was not uncommon for West Buckland to have up to five teams entered.  With the exception of two years (one for heavy snow and one because of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease, he led Adventurous Training in Snowdonia every Easter holidays for 23 years. He has also led expeditions to the Pyrenees.
In his time at West Buckland School, he has taught many different and varied outdoor activities such as canoeing, surfing and especially climbing.  A keen climber himself, he often took students to specialist climbing walls in the area as well as recognised climbs on Dartmoor and on coastal cliffs.  Charles’ enthusiasm for climbing was such that many of his charges went on to gain international honours within the world of climbing including his own sons, Luke and Peter, both of whom have represented Great Britain many times.
But, it is in his main role as a Teacher of Chemistry that he will be remembered by most.  Many a student over the years will have asked “What are we doing in today’s lesson, Sir?” and the same students will no doubt recall his is brief and to the point answer, “Moles!”
He was always a great believer in delivering chemistry using a practical, hands on, approach allowing his students to do as much experimental work as lessons would allow.  This was particularly true for the material he taught to Years 7 and 8 and, as a result, many A level chemistry students would have found themselves relying upon techniques learnt during their first two years of chemistry in CHDs lessons.

So, after many years of teaching inside (and outside) the laboratory, he is now looking forward to a well-deserved retirement. 
Emma has been everything that we could have hoped for in a technician. Organised, efficient, methodical, patient, able to put up with last minute orders from teachers who should know better (!) she has been a crucial and highly valued member of the department. It has been known for her to have our requests ready for us before we have even asked for them! The chemistry teachers who will be coming back in September are going to miss her greatly and hope that she knows how much we have appreciated her work over the years – she will be very hard to replace.

Robert Clarke (78-S) and Tracey Hill (10-S)

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