Andrew Stobart (Hervey 1978 – 1982)
It was with great sadness that we at Falcon College learnt of Andrew’s death in England on 8th April 1997 after “a brave, calm and courageous fight against cancer”.
Andrew was undoubtedly one of the most talented pupils to have been educated at Falcon College. He came to us from Ruzawi,where he had been headboy, at the beginning of 1978, having been given a major scholarship.
At Falcon he excelled in so many spheres. Not only did be achieve outstanding O and A level results, but he played lst team water polo for three years, receiving his colours and representing Matabeleland in i982. He captained a successful 2nd XV and was an accomplished public speaker and actor. He also gained a 1st prize in the much sought after Zimbabwe Young Scientists Exhibition. It was therefore fitting that he was chosen as Headboy in his final year at Falcon. He will go down in the annals of the College as one of the most successful to have taken on this onerous and demanding responsibility.
In 1983 he gained an Anglo American Open Scholarship to the University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg) to do a BSc degree in Agriculture. Here, he thrived on the stimulus offered by a university atmosphere. In his four years at Natal he gained Certificates of Merits on four different occasions; he was awarded an Undergraduate Scholarship and the Roy Muller Bursary three years in a row, and in his final year at Natal he was awarded the A.R. Saunders Medal for being top agricultural student. He gained a first ciass degree Cum Laude.
In spite of his very busy academic career, he could still find time to be class representative; be on the residence house committee; be President of the University rowing club and do sky diving.
With such all round achievements, it came as no surprise to hear that he had been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Brasnose College, Oxford, for two years, graduating in 1989 with an M.Phil in Management Studies. In true Andrew style he grasped at the main opportunities that a place like Oxford could offer. He played water polo for Oxford against Cambridge; sang in the College Choir; took part in a promotional film for the R.A.F; was appointed sub-dean in Brasnose and played lacrosse. However, it was for rowing that he had his greatest passion. He rowed for the Brasnose 1st VIII for two years having the opportunity of rowing in the Thames Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta. In 1988 he was chosen for the Oxford Development Squad and rowed in a regatta at Turin in Italy.
After leaving Oxford, he joined Finn Feeds International as a marketing executive. In May 1991 he married his wife, Susannah, whom he had met at Oxford. Unfortunately, while on holiday in Turkey they were involved in a serious bus accident and they both sustained severe injuries. Andrew was operated on for serious head injuries and flown back to England, where he remained unconscious for six weeks. After a long period of rehabilitation he made an excellent recovery, to such an extent that, although he was told he wou1d never row again, he returned to rowing and was chosen for the Wallingford Club 2nd VIII which qualified for the Henley Royal Regatta in 1995.
In 1992, cancer was diagnosed and Andrew had surgery, which seemed to clear it. However, it resurfaced in August 1996 and he was again operated on. He then developed a tumour and had radiotherapy treatment in early 1997, but to no avail.
Andrew’s mother, Gill, in a letter to the school, summed things very well when she wrote – “He was a very special young man who in his short life accomplished so much and then in the last couple of years showed us so much courage and tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds.”
To Susannah, his wife, David and Gill, his parents, and Michael, his brother, we at Falcon offer deepest sympathies on their sad loss. We will remember him with pride.
From The Falcon magazine, 1997 (published in May 1998)
Postscript: in The Falcon magaine of 1998
We must give grateful thanks for an extremely generous donation of funds* by Mrs Susannah Stobart, the widow of Andrew Stobart who tragically died last year, stating in his will that funds were to be made available to his old school. Andrew was an outstanding Old Boy – he was Head Boy in 1982 and a Rhodes Scholar. The donation is to be used to fund a gazebo in Quiet Waters and to upgrade our computer room with funds remaining to be placed in a trust fund with the interest utilised to ensure that this facility keeps up with developments.
* amounting to $30,000