|8 Jan 2021|
Tony Dimsey started his career at Bishop Vesey Grammar School in 1964. He went on to become Head of Careers in 1974, then Head of Mechanics in 1975 (as well as taking on running the Chess Club), and ultimately Head of Mathematics in 1981. He was always happy to take on extra work to support the school, including being the staff representative on the PTA (the Christmas Bazaar was always an exciting start to the festive season), and devising the annual school timetable (the family have fond childhood memories of a large sheet of wood propped up in his study at home onto which he would spend several evenings attaching and reattaching rectangles of various coloured card with bluetac in order to arrange all the staff, subjects and rooms into a sensible, manageable timetable!) In 1985 he became a Senior Master, being Head of Maths and Careers, a position he was happy to serve in until his retirement in 1993.
In 1968 he took on the challenge of organising a school trip to Russia. In his own words “…we discussed how we could make the cost cheaper for the pupils. We eventually decided on a camping trip to Odessa crossing Europe by coach…41 sixth form boys and 4 staff set off – the cost was £45 for 3 weeks and no guarantee that we could get there!” After the (surprising) success of the first trip, he organised a second one, this time with the addition of girls from the local grammar schools. The final trip to Greece ended up being changed mid trip to Yugoslavia due to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, however Tony never let the various crisis deter him (including a cholera outbreak in Odessa on the day they were due to leave the city) and ultimately these experiences fed his lifelong passion for travel and adventure.
Tony always spoke very fondly of his 29 years at Bishop Vesey, taking a huge pride in the many successes of the boys (and girls in the final few years of his career) in his care. He was particularly happy to play a part in supporting pupils with their further education and career choices and enjoyed the intimacy of having his own 6th form tutor group. He once said, “you know when you are getting old as a teacher when you start to teach the children of former pupils!” It is not recorded when the first time this happened to him; however, he was delighted when Kate, his youngest daughter joined the 6th form in 1985 the 3rd year of accepting girls. (On many occasions he would, after first checking no one else could see him, pull a silly face to try to make her laugh at the most awkward of moments!)
Even after retirement, he made sure to keep in touch with former colleagues, many of whom he also considered treasured friends. Returning to live in Exeter, where he had originally been at university, he still wanted to help people and so worked as a volunteer for Age Concern, dividing his time between this, his family, and his great love of travel. By his 85th birthday he had clocked up over 90 different countries visited, including walking with penguins in the Antarctic! Education was always important to Tony and so it was a great joy to him when his eldest granddaughter, Eloise, began her own training this year as a secondary school maths teacher in London, firmly following in his footsteps.
Widowed 4 years previously, Tony passed away peacefully in Gloucester Royal Hospital on 27th December, leaving a son, Robert, 2 daughters, Jo and Kate, and 2 granddaughters Eloise and Adelaide, as well as a legacy of experience, wisdom and happy memories.
Kate Coldham (nee Dimsey)
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