Heading for the sunset

PUBLISHED: 14:07 10 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:10 20 February 2013

Stuart Thackrah

Stuart Thackrah

After 21 years of service as the headmaster of Holmwood Preparatory House School, Stuart Thackrah reflects on history and new horizons

Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am 56 years old and I am married to my wife, Glenys. We have one son, Thomas, and a daughter, Charlotte.

Do you have any pets?

What do you do for a living?
I am about to retire from being the headmaster of Holmwood House Preparatory School.

Where do you live?
I currently live on the premises
of the school at Chitts Hill in Lexden near Colchester.

How long have you lived there?
For the past 21 years.

What do you like about where you live?
I like the fact that I only have to walk 20 metres to work and I love being able to hear the sound of children playing for much of the day.

What do you love about your job?
Again, it is the children. They are always happy and smiling, so I am in a good mood whenever I get out of my study.

What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?
Becoming chairman of IAPS, the Independent Association of Prep Schools.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
At the end of this school term I will be retiring as the headmaster of Holmwood House Preparatory School. It will be a very emotional day after 21 years there; we brought up both of our children while living at the school. Looking beyond that, I see myself in Cornwall, but still very involved with education in some way.

What are your hobbies?
I play golf and cricket when I get the chance. I also collect first editions of children's books, in particular Enid Blyton.

How do you relax?
Playing and watching sport, reading and going on long walks with my wife.

Do you have any hidden talents?
Well, I suppose it is more of a secret of success, but working with a fantastic team of staff at Holmwood House makes all the difference.

What is your worst habit?
Enjoying wine

Which five guests would you invite to a dinner party and why?
Oscar Wilde, who I'm sure would be able to fill any gaps in the conversation. I'd also invite Philip Pullman as he's possibly the greatest living children's author. I'd love to invite Rickie Ponting to commiserate with him when Australia loses the Ashes this summer, and Richard Branson for the return invitation to Necker Island. Finally I'd invite Glenys Thackrah, who is my wife and my best friend.

Do you have a favourite song or piece of music?
My choice would be Land of Hope and Glory because it evokes happy memories of rugby internationals, the Last Night of the Proms and many other great occasions.

Where are the best views to be had in Essex?
Throughout the Stour Valley, but particularly around Dedham.

Describe Essex in one sentence.
A good place to live.

What is your favourite town in Essex and why?
That would have to be Colchester. I thoroughly enjoy the history associated with the town.

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
There is only one possible answer; my wife, Glenys.

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