A Tribute to Brian Perrier

By David Wheatley,

I was at Brianís Funeral yesterday, what a wonderful epitaph to his memory surrounded by his
family and friends, and well represented by Goldings led by David Wheatley.

I never knew Brian at Goldings which is a surprise really as he was probably one of the tallest
boys in my time, which is apparent if you look at the 60's D.V.D. of Goldings as he is coming out
of Macandrew House, head and shoulders above the rest, must have had a second helping of

We became firm friends when we became reunion organisers, and many a time he popped up to
Walsall with Ellen for both families to share a night out, usually a curry, and we would visit them
down at Stevenage and they always insisted we stay at their house, later a flat, and many a time
we shared an evening in wonderful company with his family.

We used to share our memories of Goldings, sometimes forgetting our other guests. The time
we was invited to Hertford Museum to record for their records of life at Goldings in our time
(which is still available to listen to in the Museum) To be interviewed by what we both sensed to
be a serious interviewer! This now brought out the Goldings sense of humour in both of us, and
both winking to each other thought we start off on a serious recollection but slowly divulge the
fun we got up to (we both would like to apologise after all the years for letting our former head
master down!) His eyes twinkled as he looked at me then our conversation moved onto "ginger
ten fags from Bengeo" and we explained that Goldings didn't have a telly, so we sought out our
other interests? Usually the female species, and many Goldings Old Boys I am sure could add
more to the entertainment we encountered in and around Hertford!

The interviewer slowly dropped her demure and burst out laughing, we knew we had captured
a new fan of Goldings.

Later in the year me and Brian visited the Museum to look at the Goldings display they had that
week, when we happened to watch a middle aged gentleman with tears running down his eyes
and laughing quite loudly, it turns out he was a German teacher over in Hertford to teach at the
local school.... and why was he laughing? He was listening to me and Brianís recording!

Another incident we both shared was when Brian was at Goldings and Mr Newton (our P.T.I.)
challenged him to beat all comers in a marathon swim in the outdoor swimming. Not only did
he swim a mile in our green water tinted swimming pool, there was only two others that came
as close. At this Brian was convinced he was over looked for a Victor Ladorum. With this in
mind it was my job as a good friend to make sure after all these years that this wrong should be
righted. So I visited my local trophy shop and asked him if he could make me a good copy of the
former trophy, which he did. With this I posted it off to Brian with a letter saying Barnardo's
have just had a clear out of the trophy cupboard and came across the trophy which had been
overlooked from all those years, Brian was over the moon and rang me to say he had won a
trophy which they had since found. It was many months later that the truth was finally told and
we used to have such a laugh about It

A great friend that will be forever missed R.I.P.

Goldingís 1962-65 (William Baker Technical School)

Dave Blower 62-65 Somerset Goldings

All images and text copyright © to Goldings Old Boys reunion members

Dave Blower and Mike Justice


We have just listened to a lovely family tribute to a kindly, jovial, measured, reliable and
loving family man - much respected by all who have known him.

However, for some of us, Brian also belonged to another special and unique family - he was
a Goldings boy, a family well-represented here in church today.

Like many other Goldings boys, Brian did not have a happy start in life. His parents split
up when he was four years old and, as a consequence, he was put into care with
Dr. Barnardo's. Brian was initially fostered out for a couple of years and then entered
their Kingston home before arriving as a 13-year-old at Goldings in the Hertfordshire

This was the William Baker Technical School, where Brian was first assigned to the painting
and decorating department but ultimately ended up in the kitchen as a would-be chef.
During this period he also distinguished himself by swimming a mile in the school pool after
the gym master challenged him to prove that he was a good swimmer.

However, more significantly, for the first time in his life, Brian found friendship and a sense
of belonging, something that remained with him for the rest of his life.

Although the school was closed by Barnardo's in 1967 soon after Brian's departure, this
deep brotherhood was very well established. Reunions have been held on the first Saturday
in October ever since. In recent years, Brian with Dave Blower and their families has been
the cornerstone of a continuing annual pilgrimage.

For the last 11 years, who has always greeted us at the front door to make us welcome ?
Brian. And who has led us in silence to remember each year those who were no longer with
us ? Brian. At the same time Ellen and Mal Blower were working all day in the kitchen
and organising the raffle. It will be so poignant this year without Brian but we know that
it is his wish that Ellen and James continue to join us. We shall be honoured if you both
feel able to do so.

Here are some tributes to Brian from his brothers:

"I have Just lost a dear friend, so sad."

"Just heard the news about Brian, the reunion will be a little bit wanting without him. "

"So sorry to hear of the loss of Brian, another of my brothers who will be sadly missed"

"I met Brian at my first reunion and was impressed by his warmth and friendship
towards a new bloke on the block."

"Very sad this morning, I have lost a close friend. Considering all his health problems
in recent years, he was one of the bravest people I have known."

"A popular, loved and respected man."

"Again we have lost a dear brother from Goldings. Brian was such a nice guy - always
welcomed us when we arrived at our reunions."

"Gonna miss you Brian, what an amazing man."

"Brian was a larger than life character who will be sadly missed."

"His humour and friendship will be sadly missed by us all.

"Brian always called us to order at the reunion to remember in silence those who had left
us during the year. Now it is his turn to make that unknown journey. Our family is poorer
for his passing."

Brian may have departed on his unknown journey, but he will remain on earth in the
hearts of his Goldings brothers until we join him in our own eternity.

He leaves behind him a simple epitaph: "Kindness and understanding to all"

Every end is a new beginning.

David Wheatley, March 12th, 2015,

Page Compiled March 2015

A farewell to Brian, a William Baker Technical School (Goldings) brother. I only knew Brian
through the reunions but what a character. He was so proud to be a Dr Barnardo's boy who
from what I can gather, lived his life to the full with a wonderful wife, Ellen and his son, James.
So much has been written about Brian and I don't wish to repeat what others have said with
regards to swimming, football, Army Cadets, cooking and his career in Social Services. I'm
talking about Brian, who made every individual who ever attended the reunions, so welcomed,
whether it be an Old Boy with his wife, his children, his grandchildren or even families that
had attended to find out information about their fathers. He would talk to them in such a
wonderful way that was incredible to listen to and he was so informative with regards to the
history of Goldings. He would also inform them in a lovely way, that it wasn't all milk and
honey, there were some hard times but would then add, where would we have all been without
The foresight of Dr Barnardo who had started possibly one of the biggest families in the world
and how we owed the Doctor so much. He explained to people the funny times that we had, how
we'd play football and kick the other team to pieces, how boys would steal food from his kitchen
and sometimes he'd turn a blind eye to let them get away with it. I'm sure that Jack Cooper,
the chef, knew that he allowed this to happen but Brian had such a happy disposition, nobody
could ever fall out with him. He gave his time, along with this family, freely for the benefit of us
Old Boys. He was an inspiration to us, even when he was not well. Of course he will be sorely
missed among us Old Boys, however he will always be well remembered as a caring, gentle
giant who was so proud to be one of us and we were so proud to be part of his Dr Barnardo's
Words as given by Mike Justice MBE

59-62 Cairns Goldings

Brian Perrier