Remembering Jim Hawkins
It probably comes as no surprise to learn that the name by which Jim was always known was not his real name. Anthony acquired the name as a child when he and his classmates were reading Treasure Island at school, and so he was soon renamed, and his new name stuck.
Jim was a modest man, but that should not mislead anyone into underestimating his capabilities and his outstanding commitment to so many charities and other organisations, and to the whole community. He was at the heart of a great many voluntary and other bodies across North Devon and further afield. No doubt his professional work as an accountant meant that his expertise was much appreciated by many groups, but his contribution was far more than ensuring that the finances were in order. He had a real vision and sense of purpose, and wished to use his time and talents to promote causes he truly believed in. He served for many years as Chair of the East and West Buckland Parish Council, and as a member of the Village Hall Committee.
Most of the good work that Jim did was known only to a very few people. The thousands of people who travel through West Buckland village each year will enjoy the daffodils on the entrance to the village but almost no-one will know that they are there because Jim saw how this would enhance the lives of residents and motorists, and saw the project through to fulfilment. Jim was a great lover of music, although it must be said that many of his musical tastes were not easy to understand for most of us.
His enthusiasm for the avant-garde led him to an active role in the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and to sponsoring new composers. He was also very committed to the Cheltenham Music Festival and, locally, to the Young Musicians Scheme.
For many years he was a trustee of the Steel Trust, and it is partly through this role that the West Buckland School community has reason to be very grateful to him. The Steel Trust has given generously to several fund-raising initiatives over many years, including The Jonathan Edwards Sports Centre and the 150 Building. His interest in the school was, of course, strongly influenced by the fact that his two children, Will and Catherine, both attended West Buckland from 1982-1990 and were members of the Fortescue. West Buckland School played a part in Jim and his wife Maureen’s family life in a unique way. Their home since they moved to North Devon in the 1980s was Taddiport, one of the two farm houses which were the temporary home of the school in its very early days while the main school building was under construction after 1858. The original school bell is still on the wall of the house.
Jim was a kind, thoughtful and most generous man who was held in the highest regard by all who had the good fortune to know him. His sudden death came as a considerable shock and has caused sadness to a great many people, most of all, of course to Maureen and their children. His passing undoubtedly leaves a void in their lives, but the whole West Buckland and North Devon community, and the many causes he supported, will be the poorer without Jim.
WBS Headmaster (98-17S)