Memorial service to former pupil 75 years after tragedy

Staff and students of a Sleaford primary school have taken part in a moving memorial service close to the anniversary of a former pupil’s tragic death 75 years ago.

Alvey pupils laying flowers during Brian Fowler's memorial serrvice. EMN-211020-172700001
Alvey pupils laying flowers during Brian Fowler's memorial serrvice. EMN-211020-172700001

On November 22, 1946, Brian Fowler, aged 11, was killed in an accident on Eastgate, hit by falling masonry on the way back to the William Alvey School after lunch at the Sleaford Methodist Church.

The accident was witnessed by Bob Snowden, who has just had Brian’s grave reset and cleaned in Spalding Cemetery.

A special gathering at the grave in Spalding was held last week. Headteacher Stephen Tapley said he was joined by pupils Matthew and Jenna Hall, as Matthew is the same age as Brian when he had the accident.

An Alvey pupil at the memorial service for Brian Fowler. EMN-211020-172711001

They were also joined by Linden Secker, who rediscovered the grave, Natalie Mason the school’s history co-ordinator), Bob Snowden and his daughter, Julia, along with Sarah Willoughby (Brian’s niece) and Jan Jackson (Brian’s best friend). Matthew laid a dedicated stone planter with an incsription on Brian’s grave on behalf of Bob, who described his memories of the accident and its impact on his life.

A poem was read at the graveside and Mr Tapley said: “It’s fairly easy to imagine Brian telling his friends that he could jump from the stone pillar in Maxy’s yard to the door, I hear similar challenges every day. In fact I would have probably tried to do the same myself when I was his age.

“It was a tragic accident.

“Mr Dougan, the headteacher at the time of the accident, recorded it in our log book in a fairly cold almost cursory manner.” The headteacher visited Brian’s parents at Cranwell that same afternoon with Canon Waudby to break the news.

Family and friends of Brian Fowler at the service in Spalding. EMN-211020-172723001

Mr Tapley added: “On Friday in our assembly we retold the story of Brian’s life. What we guessed he ate for lunch that fateful day, what he said to his friends and unfortunately how he fell to his tragic death.

“Brian won’t be forgotten, the children at the school walk past number 43 Eastgate most days and I know it now holds a special place in all their hearts. I tell the children what happened, and ask them to take a few seconds to remember Brian. I hope they tell their parents and I hope they tell their friends.

“Brian is part of our school’s history, and his life and tragic death makes us part of who we are today.”

A special stone laid on Brian Fowler’s grave. EMN-211020-172557001