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News > Reported Deaths > Alumni News - Roger Pugsley

Alumni News - Roger Pugsley

Farewell to a great Sidcotian President, Roger Pugsley (1940 - 2021), S. 1951 - 1958; President of the Sidcotians 2017-18. Here in his daughter's words we share his Life Story.
Roger Pugsley
Roger Pugsley

Roger arrived at Sidcot to join his older brother David in 1951. His younger sister Naomi joined the school later. It was a very happy time for Roger, and Gillian has learnt just recently that he was popular with the girls due to his talent as a dancer. After Sidcot, he went on to take a degree in Chemistry at Edinburgh, followed by a PhD at Leeds.  

His subsequent career was in the chemical industry, starting at ICI in Huddersfield in 1966. ICI later became AstraZeneca, from which he retired in 2000 having spent his whole career at the company, though he had trained as a Patent Attorney and moved to this field of work for the renainder of his working life.  

Roger met Gillian (nee Carr) when they were both students in Edinburgh. They married in 1964 and had three children, William, Josie & Eleanor.  They moved to Rochdale when Roger’s job in patents took him to Manchester and they lived there from 1973 until after their retirement.  

Roger was involved in many activities, especially in the cause of promoting Fair Trade. He and Gillian both enjoyed choral singing and were members of local choral societies. Both shared an interest in hill walking and fortunately lived close enough to the Lake District to access many beautiful walks easily; from 1980 - 96 they climbed all the peaks Wainwright describes in his book, almost all of them in fine weather!  

Roger also participated in many Lake District weekends with the Mens Group from their local church - when it seemed much more often to rain! Hill walking has been a pasion for both my parents, in addition to taking on the Lake Districk Peaks they also climbed more than 50 Munroes on visits to Scotland and took many walking holidays abroad, especially enjoying Madeira. 

They visited my brother David and his family in Australia on several occasions and had many long journeys visiting every state in Australia and spending a month exploring New Zealand.  Eclipse trips took them to Africa, Turkey and China. Their greatest and most enduring love was Greece, which they visited almost annually from 1981 to 2013, spending 6 weeks in the spring every year in their retirement on both the main land and the islands. They tried hard to learn Greek and though they never became fluent as they would have liked, it was a great help in their many ‘off the beaten track’ travels. Both acquired a little Portuguese too, helpful when moving around in Madeira, the Azores and mainland Portugal.  

Roger did not keep in close touch with Old Scholars until a class reunion 20 years after leaving school took them to the Easter Reunion. This event soon became an annual family tradition much loved by their youngest daughter Eleanor who always enjoyed the weekend. Many close friendships and happy memories evolved from this event. Eventually even including Roger and Gillian’s children and grandchildren. The Easter Reunion certainly became something of a Pugsley family tradition. Roger spent many years as the Treasurer for the Old Scholar’s Association, and was then President of the Sidcotians in the year 2017-18.

His final home was at Hartrigg Oaks, a retirement community in York, where he and Gillian felt at home straight away as there was a ready made group of Old Scholars waiting to welcome him – including two former presidents of the Association (Kurt Strauss and David Hoare), as well as Lynn Robson who had been with Roger in the Sixth Form.

After his death in March 2021 his family and friends took him (in shorts) to rest in a woodland burial ground outside of York, and Donald Southhall wore his Old Scholars tie - a fitting end.

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