Monmouth School stalwart Colin Copestake has died


It is with sadness that Monmouth School and the Old Monmothian Club record the sudden passing of Colin Copestake (MCR 1962 – 1998).

Educated at Burton Grammar School, he won a Choral Award to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where he studied Modern Languages. Appointed to teach French and Spanish at Monmouth School in 1962, he would spend the whole of his career here until retirement in 1998. A dedicated teacher, not even the occasion of a broken leg could prevent him from teaching his classes which came to him in School House while his leg was in plaster. Many OMs remember with gratitude the visits and exchanges he organised as Head of Spanish.

colin-copestake-omIt was not only in the classroom that Colin made his mark. He was Master of The Grange before moving on to be Housemaster of School House, where he was to earn the respect of scholars and rogues alike. He also served as Examinations Officer and tackled, with his customary lack of fuss, the ever-increasing forest of material produced by the various examination boards.

A fine cricketer, he was long-time coach to the Under 15 XI and was once selected in 1981 for a celebrity side which played in a benefit match organised by Graham Burgess against a Somerset side which included Ian Botham, who gave no quarter when Colin came to the crease.

A stalwart of the Chapel Choir his bass-baritone voice thrilled both there and in School concerts. This passion for music was to continue into retirement with membership of Monmouth Choral Society and with his unfailing commitment to the Choir of St. Mary’s, Monmouth where he practised his quiet, devout Anglican faith.

I remember the warmth of the applause he received when he addressed the boys at his final Assembly. This said much for the esteem in which Colin Copestake, the stern yet kindly disciplinarian, was held.

Colin’s funeral will be held at St. Mary’s Priory Church, Monmouth on Thursday 10th November at 12 noon. This will be followed by a family-only cremation. Refreshments will be served in The Priory Rooms.

The School and the Old Monmothian Club extend their deepest sympathy to Jennifer and the family.

Stephen Edwards