Dear Simon’s family and friends

Created by Alex 5 months ago
I learned of Simon’s passing on holiday, surrounded by my friends from Weymouth House. Lots of people don’t stay in touch with their school friends, but we’re different. We grew up in a house built by Simon Hughes, and it’s therefore no surprise that we’re all still together.

Our heads bowed at the table when I read out the news. We then roared at Trevor Chilton’s nod towards Simon’s tolerance for eccentricity. There are too many examples to support this observation, but here is one.

One of our holiday party’s favourite school memories involved crawling on all fours into his office, towards Simon, to try to touch his feet. Simon knew. Jack knew. Simon knew that Jack knew, and Jack knew that Simon knew. 

Jack’s dance with authority - and Simon - was the highest form of respect that a teenage boy could show his housemaster. The most complicated years of a person’s life demand that those responsible for them balance discipline with compassion and humour. Simon understood this, and we understood him. And he understood us.

Simon built a safe place for me. In the absence of positive male leadership at home, Simon’s voice was a siren of sweet relief whenever I walked through the doors of Weymouth House. He had my back and brought the best out of me, steadying me when I erred, and giving me my own leadership roles for the first time in my life. I can only hope that I’ll one day have the opportunity to pay Simon’s love forward, and do so as Simon would have done.

I’m sorry that I can’t be with you all at Simon’s send-off. I’ll be thinking of you, and Simon, on Friday.

Alex Janiaud

Head of Weymouth House, Autumn 2010