Member News

2015: We are sad to have to report the death of former TGS headmaster FP ('Fred') Ball on 28 October 2015

On November 3, 2015, the Norwich Evening News 24 reported:

BALL PHILIP (Fred) Headmaster, Thorpe Grammar School 1958-1977. Passed away peacefully on October 28th, 2015, aged 98½.
A much-loved Dad of Jen, Sue, Sheila and Kate, Grandpa, Great-grandpa and Great-great-grandpa.

2006: We are sad to have to report the death of former TGS teacher Alan Davison on 28 August 2006

On 2 September 2006, Norwich Evening News 24 reported:

Former geography teacher Alan Davison, 76, from Sprowston, who taught at Thorpe Grammar School, now Thorpe St Andrew High School, died after his car was involved in a crash with a lorry on the A146 near the junction with Trowse Newton at about 1.50pm on Tuesday 29 August 2006.

2006: We are sad to have to report the death of TGS teacher Ivor Harrowven on 17 July 2006

Ivor Harrowven
1933 - 2006

An Appreciation by David Johnson
Association Secretary

It was a privilege for a number of us, representing the Association, to join in a service of celebration and thanksgiving held at Chapelfield Road Methodist Church for the life of our chairman, Ivor Harrowven. Although many of us knew that he had been bravely bearing an incurable illness for some time, his passing, at home surrounded by a loving family, still came as a shock. He died on 17th July, two days after his seventy-third birthday. His last word was “September” – he was looking forward to his and his wife Brenda’s golden wedding anniversary. Ivor had many fine attributes and being a devoted husband, father and grandfather was just one.

Ivor John Harrowven was born on St Swithin’s Day 1933 during, legend has it, a thunderstorm. Whether this experience had any effect on his choice of career is uncertain. He grew up in Norfolk and retained a lifelong affection for the county. His secondary education was at City of Norwich School where he was taught by F P Ball who was, in the course of time, to become his boss. He was apparently a bright and earnest pupil, eventually winning a place to read geology at University College, London and having obtained his degree he taught for a year at Battersea Grammar School.

In 1956 he married his life’s partner, Brenda and the union was blessed with a daughter, Judith, in 1958 and twin sons, John and David, born in 1964. In 1957 he joined the staff at the recently established Thorpe Grammar School where, it is said, he taught chemistry to many hundreds of eager and adoring students for the rest of his career. Many of us who remember him have to confess that at the time we didn’t realise what a good teacher he was, probably because of his unassuming air and, because he was much brighter than we realised, he could afford to adopt a laid-back attitude. Certainly he didn’t seem take himself too seriously and was invariably good humoured. Not every school-teacher is well-liked. There is no doubt that Ivor was.

But for Ivor, school was not all-consuming. He was a well-rounded individual and had many interests. Firstly, of course, he was a devoted family man. Then, for all his life he was a committed Methodist with a particular interest in the rural churches at which he regularly preached. He was keen on music, singing in a choir, was a Gilbert and Sullivan aficionado and an enthusiastic performer at the piano, often in the style of Eric Morecambe – “playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order.” He played Bridge and his sporting enthusiasms are well known.

In 1999 when the Thorpe Grammar School Association was formed he came to the initial exploratory meeting and was unanimously invited to become chairman. Each year thereafter he offered to stand down but was prevailed upon by the committee to continue. This was not because no one else was unwilling or unable to do the job but because we all simply thought that Ivor was the best man for it - and we were right! It was largely due to Ivor’s skill in welding a disparate group of people together that the various reunions and other activities the Association organised turned out to be the success that they were. Ivor was proud of TGS - he believed it to be a good school and the formation of the TGS Association meant more to him than most of us understood.

At the Thanksgiving Service, Rev Arthur Windridge said, “Many people will be grateful for knowing Ivor.” People say stuff like that don’t they? But there are many who can look back and remember an excellent teacher who was also a genuinely nice man. And when the opportunity came, more recently, to reacquaint with him we found that he was also a genuinely good man. A whole lot of us are grateful for knowing Ivor.  

More info:

2001-2002: three letters from David Cooke - a leading light in the TGSA - following the discovery that he is suffering from Mantel Cell Lymphoma

26th May  2001

Dear TGSA members

This is probably the most difficult letter I shall ever have to write.

Over the past few months I have been having investigations at hospital, and following the results I am sorry to have to tell you that I have been diagnosed with a rare form of malignant leukemia called Mantel Cell Lymphoma. This will mean that I shall have to have time off work for treatment and further investigations.

My colleagues at the office have been most supportive and Lesley and I thank them for their understanding and encouragement

Lesley and I have always had close relationships with our friends and family and we have enjoyed many good times together. I hope that you will keep in touch with us and visit us when you can. We will keep you informed of my progress. But, I am determined to win!

Yours ever,


26th June 2001

Dear TGSA members

Thank you so much for your most welcome messages for a speedy recovery, which have certainly helped Lesley and I to cope better over the past few traumatic weeks.

As you may have heard already, we have been overwhelmed by the volume of cards, letters, e-mails and telephone calls since we first learned of this life-threatening illness. I am sure that you will understand that it has been impossible for me to reply to everyone and hope that you will forgive this stereotyped letter in response to your wonderful support.

Nevertheless, we want to tell all our friends and relations that we have read every single word (a full-time occupation!); appreciate all you are doing for us, and despite not hearing from us immediately, please do not imagine that we are ignoring you, but please, please keep in touch, albeit one-sidedly (is that a word?). It is very important to us; your words have been so moving.

Which brings me to the current situation. After many visits to various hospitals involving X-rays, scans, biopsies, etc, the Senior Oncologist at Addenbrookes now believes that I am ready for chemotherapy, which should start in early August. I shall not bore you with the details, but as my condition (MCL) is fairly rare (six cases in Addenbrookes) he wants to hit the cancer hard over a six-week period. So we shall put a tape on the answerphone saying that I am "hors de combat" during August. Hopefully I shall have finished my treatment by my 58th birthday in mid-September. What a great present! Finally, offers of transport, meals, holidays, cottages, books, champagne, CDs, prayers (inc three nuns!), cheques, etc! have been more than generous, but very well received. Several people have asked if they could make a donation to Charity, so the Lymphoma Association has benefitted from their magnanimity, for their research. We could not be so positive and optimistic without your help and thoughts - it is so important to us. We hope to see you soon, miraculously cured.

Yours ever


Tel: 01603 250800


Dear Alan,


As promised, I enclose up-to-date details of my condition [see press cutting HERE]. I am still seeking funds for the Lymphoma Association; my original target of £1,000 being exceeded and now increased to £10,000, for which I hope to be able to hand over a giant cheque in May 2003 (Lymphoma Awareness Week) at the UEA. Following the [TGSA] dinner in November, when another £50 was donated, my present total stands at £8,350, so only £1,650 to go. Donations of any amount will be very welcome. Many thanks to all those who have already donated.

Have a good Christmas, and a healthy New Year.


David, all our best wishes are with you.

Anyone wishing to find out more about the Lymphoma Association can visit their web site . If you wish to make a donation, please print off this FORM and send it with your cheque to David Johnson at:

117 High St, Lowestoft NR32 1HN

This way, David Johnson can let David Cooke know about the donations made by TGSA members.
If you wish to send a personal message to David, please email to our Secretary, who will pass it on.

Site launched 20 June 2000