Alan Legge from Perth, Western Australia called today with the sad news that Martin Carr who ran the Physical Education Department at the school for many years passed away on 30th December 2009. More information will be posted as we receive it including details of Martin’s funeral
Should you wish to send a card or contact his widow Kay please email me for her address in Orpington.
I also have the telephone number of their son and daughter-in-law Paul and Alison should you need to contact the family.
Shortly after Martin's passing many tributes to him came in by email and these are published below in the order that they were received. Your tributes.
On the occasion of Martin’s funeral at Beckenham Crematorium on 27th January 2010 Ivan Couchman delivered the following eulogy.
”I ad-libbed to this extensively on the day to create the right sense of loyalty, admiration, respect and love that we old CVTHS boys had for “Uncle Mart” and to get a response from the other guys. It seemed well received and Paul Carr, Martin’s son said he was happy thus so am I and I was proud to do it.”
I was privileged to be a pupil at Cray Valley Technical High School from 1964-1971 and enjoyed the last 3 years of Joe Kingsland’s halcyon years. The school’s “Dream” team of masters remain in my memory until this day and none more so that Martin Carr or “Uncle Mart” as he was privately and affectionately known amongst the boys.
Martin Carr was many things, a great teacher, fantastic man, good friend, and excellent leader and terrific colleague but in my mind one word describes him and the influence he had on my life and that of many boys and that of my friends who are here today. He was quite simply a legend. He was a legend upon which Sports, games and Gymnastics were built at Cray Valley a man who drove the school to standards of excellence in sports that enabled us to compete with the very best at Rugby, athletics, cricket and hockey. We even played tennis but he did take some help from Geoff Brown in that sport. In all sports and in everything he did he demanded and got a standard of excellence in the every aspect. Whether it be in preparation, training, appearance and diet. On the field, sportsmanship and respect for the opposition no matter where they came from, or off the field, hospitality and courtesy where we always gave the visitors a good spread.
But let me start at the beginning as I remember it from Day 1 we were taught life lessons of how to prepare ourselves for sport and gymnastics. Lessons that are equally relevant in life and that have stood me well in the 40 years since I left. His booming voice echoing around the corridors leading to the changing rooms and gymnasium taught us to have spotlessly white plimsolls, clean and dubbined boots, stain free kit and whites and shirts tucked in with socks kept up by elastic garters. If you look the part you will feel the part and when you go out as a team looking the business … you do the business. I am convinced that when we took the field looking like a well drilled army on any sports field we frightened some teams into submission before the game actually started. Another life lesson in gaining advantage when you compete.
We also had to prepare 3 flags for sports day 1 red 1 black and 1 white. No one in year 1 understood why until sports day came around and then our field became as impressive as anything to be found at that time. Along with the standards came the performances on all fronts there were County and National Champions, cups local, County and national records, International Caps. Martin Carr created the environment, set the standards, pushed you hard and helped you deliver. He motivated you to do your absolute best and if you tried your hardest no matter how poor or weak you were you were encouraged and helped BUT woe betide the guy that thought he could cruise..be it on cross country, in the gym or on the pitch. He knew there was no hiding place from his experienced eye. If you didn’t maintain your standards you were also in hot soup! Imagine the surprise on the parents’ faces when we were U13’s and had just crushed Erith Grammar School 35-3 (when a try was worth only 3 pts) when GJA had sprinted round the outside of their whole defence from inside our 25 (as it was) to be told we had “underperformed”, we were too cocky and he sent us on a full cross country immediately after the final whistle!
Yet he was compassionate too he didn’t tolerate bullies and if he caught a bully then he dealt with him fairly but in a way that taught him a life lesson too. If you wanted to fight smaller weaker boys you had to learn what it was like to fight someone who wasn’t small weak or afraid so the bully would have to adorn a set of boxing gloves boys would link arms to make a ring and he would be pitted against someone more suitable. Needless to say bullies never prospered and soon learned the error of their ways. Two more incidents stand out for me in the Upper 6th. I was fortunate to captain the 1st XV and we were playing Reigate Grammar who were unbeaten in 3 years! At half time we were 14-6 up against all the odds, playing out of our skins but class told and we eventually succumbed 22-14. As I trooped of the pitch fighting back tears because this would have been a victory he put his arm around me and told me how proud he was of us that day. He had seen then last 10 mins and their master had sung our praises. Similarly I was at the final Kent U19 trial at Kings Rochester and had a “blinder” even scoring a try but at the selection afterward I was only picked as a travelling reserve ..I couldn’t believe it I was gutted I knew I’d done well. He knew it too and soon hurried over with that reassuring arm again he told me I’d done very well but they picked a boy who played last year from St Dunstan’s Public School called Sinclair who wasn’t at the trials and explained that I would get my chance and he was right.
Martin Carr wasn’t just a legend and visionary in sport he was far ahead of his time in knowing how travel was an education in itself. How by going to far off places a young boy’s ambitions, goals and values would be influenced for life. Whether it was the cruise ship trips, or skiing trips before my time, or the fantastic USA trips where he was the first person to hire nearly the whole Pan Am jet as he took 118 boys and 8 members of staff on a trip of a lifetime in 1969 and latterly twice more in the 70’s. I missed that first epic voyage but there are 3 guys here today who can tell you chapter and verse how great it was….indeed I still hear stories for GJA today. Then there was his special trips being a “chosen man” to go on the overland trips.
My special trip was Morocco 1969-70. 16 boys he said were hand picked from 3 year groups to board the Transit vans armed with tents, sleeping bags, provisions and sponsored bacon to leave on Boxing Day 1969 accompanied by Geoff Brown and Harry Hawkins. What a trip that was with so many memories. Most of the names I can still recall; Myself, Gibbs, Armstrong, Pell, Williamson, Phillips, Menhennick, Gummer, Wright, Smith, Spencer, Haggerty, Samuel, (Tilling check with PW) - 3 of my fellow travellers are here today so you can get loads of stories from them but what I recall as we journeyed down through France were countless renditions of Delilah and the Rolo advert, all of us being mesmerised by a young French teenage girl near Perpignan and thru Spain stopping at Madrid, Cadiz and Seville and at one camp site being told we had to check our sleeping bags for snakes!
Each of us had a task I was the cook with a penchant for rich and creamy mash potatoes and I became a super fast potato peeler. I cooked everything except for the breakfast porridge which was “Willy’s” domain because he would only eat porridge he made in his special way. Roy Smith would clamber all over the transit roofs battening down the luggage, they were expert tent erectors. Mickey Spencer showed us how he boxed for England but by the time we got to the camp site at Algeciras he had fine tuned us all we had great fun and everything ran like clockwork and we loved every minute of it. At that campsite we met the Youngs a Chinese American family whose head Ronald was stationed in Madrid with USAAF. CW MS and I snuck into First Class to chat to his daughter and the friendship I made with the family and particularly with his daughter Susan still survives today. Our families have holidayed together; my son was there last year and all because of the trip. What was a chance meeting where we sang our tunes in the washrooms (acoustics were better) and the son Wes played guitar became a lifelong family friendship.
The meal in Rabat (cous cous for the first time), my first experience of a belly dancer, the haggling at the Marrakech market, the poverty, the excitement, the rugs, ornaments, paper knives and memories of these exotic places in North Africa. The camaraderie, stories, the trust and freedom we enjoyed to explore and enjoy the good food we cooked each time we camped …the day we drove into the Hilton in Rabat and told them we had the High Commissioner’s son with us so they should give us the best rooms in the house, the thrill of stopping in Lisbon and visiting Benfica’s ground, even the sea sickness through the Bay of Biscay on the way home. Such memories have stayed with me throughout my life all because of one forward thinking, legend of a teacher who pushed back the boundaries of teaching to include life lessons
He became a friend in later years and when I took to rugby coaching he helped there. One of my protégés made the England trials and I was proud so I called him up to share my excitement and ask him for help in preparing them. He put me directly in touch with the selector he had mentored and told me to tell him he should give me his advice because I was a good guy, of good stock that deserved to be helped. I got all the advice I needed not in any sycophantic way but in practical unbiased advice on how best to ready my boys. One went on to play full England and now plays at Wasps and recently married Ian McGeechan's daughter. The other represented North of England and England Universities and trialled for the England 7’s squad this season until a hamstring tear put him out of action.
On the occasions I did see him we would talk and reminisce for ages on the Cray Valley Boys and all they had achieved. He was so very proud of them.
As you can see I have so many fond memories I could talk about the experiences I have had for hours. All of these rich experiences down to one man - Martin Carr.
He was a remarkable man who drove himself hard and set high standards - drove us even harder and was always raising the bar and urging us to do more, to surpass ourselves. Yes he was a truly remarkable man, teacher and friend.
Martin, on behalf of all those boys who were privileged to be taught, guided, influenced and mentored by you; let me say we are so very proud of you too! Yes “Uncle Mart” you are a true legend, someone who will never be forgotten whose legacy lives on in us and who will be deeply missed by all who knew you and loved you.
In the words of an ex-pupil here today Martin Carr was indeed “a true maker of
I'm sorry to hear about Martin Carr. One of the interesting things about the website is the varying opinions about Martin since I have memories of him being a pretty tough customer and held in awe at least but very many of the comments are very positive and this is obviously the way we should remember him. I remember him trying to get up a staff basketball team at one time but it didn't last very long as we all realised it was extremely hard work.
Sad to hear about Mr Carr. I think he joined us about 1959, when I was 15/16. He was the 5th PT master, after the Wright Brothers, Mr Owen and Mr Parry. Sports and Gymnastic went up a notch when Mr Carr arrived. The Gym club was kitted out in bright red vests, as in photo 0095. Very smart , we were. Looking at that photo, I can see that I was the only upper 6th boy in the club. I'm 2nd boy from the left, at the back.
Mr C set a very high standard, and pushed us hard. I did impossible things on the trampo with his encouragement: double somersaults and all that, that I now tell to my grandson about. He's very impressed with his Granddad. The trampo was taken to other schools for their sports/open days, and a few of us used to give demonstrations on it. Nice thing to do. I wonder if that trampo is still there at school?
I was sorry to hear of the passing of Martin Carr. I will always remember him for telling me (in the way that only Mr Carr could) that I would be better at all ball games if I opened my eyes when someone threw or kicked a ball at me, so I took up swimming and still can’t catch a ball.
My memory of "Mr Carr", was his weight training, and an endless competition with one of the Wright (Sp?) brothers over shooting baskets. They had a running total and one of them was way ahead, but I don't remember who. Fond memories and Martin Carr was one of the good guys for sure.
It was with great sadness that I read of the passing away of Martin Carr. He and I joined the staff at Cray at exactly the same time – September 1959. Martin shared the PE and Games with Brian Parry and soon began to make his mark. He was a strong disciplinarian and a tower of strength. I can see him now doing a handstand at the top to the PE steps and ‘walking’ down to their little staff office on his hands. I remember the Sports Day Events. I acted as Chief Whip for many years and the ‘pens’ being in the grass tennis court area gave me an overview of the whole Sports Field below me. It was laid out immaculately, dressed with red, white and black flags. Everything ran like clockwork. It was like a mini Olympic Games.
Martin and Brian had a good humoured rivalry between them. At that time Martin proudly drove a motorcycle combination which used to be parked by the Staff Cycle Shed near the dustbin courtyard used for the coke boiler ashes. One evening Brian, knowing that Martin was riding to London to meet his girlfriend, thought it would be a ‘good idea’ to put one of the dustbins into Martin’s sidecar. Imagine, late that night, the scene when Martin kindly offered his girlfriend a lift home in his sidecar!!! She had to use the pillion.
Brian and Martin used to compete with each other to see who could get the better suntan during the summer term. There was that lovely summer morning when the lads had been set off on three laps of the school field -‘athletic training’ - while Martin and Brian reclined on a PE mattress propped on the bank by the old air-raid shelters. Suddenly a ‘black cloud’ seemed to go over the sun – it was Jo Kingsland’s academic gown. I do not know how they explained their way out of this.
Then there were the Staff v Boys Cricket Matches. Although a keen rugby player Martin had much to learn about cricket. Being a heavily built man I suppose the boys batting pads were rather too small. Can you picture him striding out to bat wearing a pair of wicket keepers pads?
Memories like these still make me chuckle. It was colleagues like Martin who helped to make those ‘halcyon’ days of my teaching career.
I always found Mr Carr to be tough but fair and remember with fondness how on Sports Day 1972 he came up to me in the morning to inform me that I was to receive the Endeavour Trophy that afternoon and please do not wear those sunglasses when accepting the trophy. As it happened Tonbridge swept the board that year and I had to receive four trophies that afternoon. No I did not wear them although I was sorely tempted. Will be sadly missed by me as was the school when he left for Sevenoaks.
I am saddened to read of the death of Martin Carr.
Along with many others I had a tough time during my early days at Cray Valley, until he took us on a school skiing trip to Oberwald in Switzerland for a week. This must have been in 1964-65 or thereabouts. I broke a ski coming down a run, and obviously won his admiration for my efforts as I then played in the second rugby XV until I left a couple of years later.
I have my school reports to hand, and Martin's comments, at age 13, are my favourite. He had wonderful copperplate writing, and wrote "A 'scatterbrain', tries very hard but always seems to be in difficulties". Later, in LV1, he wrote "An enthusiastic member of School Rugby XV's".
My enduring love of rugby is a direct result of Martin's teaching and support, and although I am now a confirmed All Black supporter, I still remember Martin's urging us to "scrum down, and pack tight"!
I would like to read, at some stage an obituary of Martin Carr, from someone who knew him in his later years.
I vividly remember Martin Carr as the person who, pretty much single-handedly, put me off team sports of any description! PE was not so bad, particularly when taken by his deputy, and I always preferred Cross-Country for outdoor pursuits rather than team games.
However, I did surprise myself once when, as Scrum Half, I lifted the Rugger ball from the scrum from between the legs of the back row rather than waiting around for the heeling-back. I suddenly heard this booming voice, who stopped the game at that point to COMMEND me on my proactive action! What a turn-up! He was a strict disciplinarian, as others have said – and he organised a magnificent 3-week tour of New England and Lakeland Canada in 1969. Military precision and uncompromising conformity meant a less than fulfilling experience of the trip in some ways!
I remember that he admired JK enormously and was less than impressed with that which followed – but who could follow JK, anyway? I cannot say that MC was anything like my favourite master but he certainly was an enormous contributor to CVTHS standing and accolade, making the 1st & 2nd Rugger teams among the best under 18’s in the South. I know that ‘Couch’ was very much a part of that success (he and I were in the same year) and his type and style of teaching will probably not be allowed today, let alone fostered. Truly, an end of an era.
I was very sad to hear of passing of one of the most inspirational characters I have had the pleasure of knowing.
When I first came to CVTHS in 1960 as a raw 15 year old from north of the border, there seemed to be little in common with the education systems apart from Rugby and English. Mr Carr and I seemed to hit it off together and he really helped me settle down at Cray Valley.
He was certainly a strict disciplinarian and must have scared the wits out of some of the less sporting minded pupils that came his way. He was to me though a hard but fair teacher who we all treated with great respect in a way that sadly would never be tolerated these days. We had some great rough and tumble too on and off the sports field. I will not forget the boxing lesson when he asked me to spar with him and demonstrate a right cross. Of course he kept blocking it easily so I tried a left hook which he was not expecting and connected hard on his chin. The lesson came to an abrupt end and he stormed off. I expected a real rocket but when he called me into the gym later he grudgingly congratulated me. Some of the others will testify to spending lessons hanging from the wall bars in the gym for committing the minor offence of forgetting their shorts etc. The annual Teachers versus Pupils rugby match was always a great event in which all the 1st XV tried to get a “dig” at Mr Carr. He took it all in good part and usually dished a fair bit out too.
He certainly was influential in channeling my sporting enthusiasm into what Mr Kingsland thought were more important subjects and for that I am eternally grateful.
I feel that he, together with Joe Kingsland were the figureheads of those days at CVTHS and thank him for stoking the fire of my love of rugby. Sadly I only saw him a handful of times after leaving school but we always fondly recalled the “left hook” over a beer or two.
I too was sorry to hear of Martin Carr's passing.I think Tony Bradley hit the nail on the head (as usual) with his comment that nobody else polarised opinion as much as Martin. It came as no surprise to me to discover that he was an ex- Army RSM and PE instructor! He didn't put me off sports per se, but I certainly developed quite an allergy to gyms of any kind. Of course his circuit training sessions were punishing but that was what they were meant to be. My first sports love was cycling so Martin's emphasis on cardiovascular fitness helped no end, though I didn't realise it at the time! As has been noted he was tough but fair, and was not bothered about whether one liked him or not. On reflection I think it was respect bordering on fear; a great loss. My condolences to his widow and family.
My memories of Martin are probably more recent than most Cray Valley students, I emigrated to Perth, Western Australia 30 years ago, on one of my trips back to the UK to visit family, my parents mentioned that they had heard that Martin was teaching at Sevenoaks.
My wife and I drove down to Sevenoaks on a Saturday morning with the idea of watching a game of Rugby and saying hello to Martin, we were told by one of Martin’s colleagues that he wasn’t working that day, but he would let Martin know we had called in and he should be available the following Saturday if we’d like to come back.
When we arrived the next week Martin greeted us wearing an Australian Rugby shirt, the warmest welcome imaginable and he’d kept the whole morning free for us, that was the start of a 20 year friendship that I will sorely miss.
Martin stayed with us in Perth when he was touring with a school Rugby party in 1992, it was when they moved onto New Zealand he was taken ill and Paul flew out to accompany him home. Over the following years Martin often joked that the doctors were using him as a human guinea pig with all the ailments he had, in recent years his deteriorating health prevented us meeting for lunch as often when I was visiting the UK.
The last time I saw Martin was December 2008, my son and I were in the UK, I rang Martin and Kay told me that he was in hospital, he’d had a stroke, when we visited Martin, as ill as he was, he still had the time and interest to joke and talk to Josh about Cricket, Rugby, Premier League Football and whatever subjects that led onto, he had a unique way of communicating with people of all ages .
His memories and pride of Cray Valley and its students was enormous, as was his charisma and personality, deepest sympathy to Kay and all family members, I’ll see you on the 27th.
I was very sad to read of the recent death of Martin Carr. Whilst a hard taskmaster and iron disciplinarian, I believe very much that he put the reputation of Cray before most everything else, and his way of doing things helped toughen us up (both mentally and physically) and understand that life beyond the school gate would not always be an easy ride. Whilst I was
(happily for me!) excused Rugby on medical grounds, I never felt any animosity whatsoever from him over this, and indeed remember him as always being extremely courteous whenever I needed to speak to him.
He put much effort in for Cray on many fronts, not least the Educational trips - specifically the three 'America Trips' that he organised in the early/mid 1970s. I was fortunate enough to be included on the 1972 trip, and the friendship established at that time with one of my Host families has endured to this day, improving my tolerance and understanding of our cousins
from 'over the pond'. I would have welcomed the opportunity to let Martin know - nearly forty years on - that a friendship established thanks to his hard work has endured across the years and at least some of his efforts with what doubtless seemed to be (probably to most Masters at that time!) an unappreciative band of oiks has not been in vain! Regrettably I will not now
have the opportunity to thank him for this.
My thoughts and deepest sympathy go out to his family.
I was sorry to hear the news of Martin Carr's passing. Another big and influential CVTS personality slips gently into history.
Perhaps not my favourite teacher then, but definitely a larger than life, greatly feared character whose tall, burly image is still very clear to me from those memorable school days. I'm sure I wasn't his most memorable pupil, as I'll explain. However, I probably have a different memory of "Mr Carr" from those of you "sporting" types. Because I was always overweight at school (hence my schooldays nickname of "Tub" Davis) and I had a constant knee problem, for most of my time at Cray Valley, I did little in the way of sports activities. So I don't remember Mr Carr from the sports field. But I believe I did something for him that few of you will have done - I regularly cleaned his shoes. While you were all out having rucks, getting whacked with hockey sticks or brained by cricket balls I was a friend to Mr Carr's tin of dark brown Kiwi polish and his brushes. As I was excused games most of the time (something that has stuck with me for life) he often got me to clean his strong, brown, leather-soled brogues ( 3 pairs as I remember) and it had to be done precisely his way, especially polishing the instep - something which I could never really understand then. He seemed pleased with what I did but as I wasn't "sporting" I suspect he always considered me slightly strange.
As I said, perhaps not my favourite teacher, but nonetheless vividly remembered - my condolences to his family.
I knew Martin as a colleague, friend and latterly as a parent of one of his pupils. He was determined and demanding, of himself as well as his students, characteristics which produced much sporting success and strong characters, although his methods did not always gain approval. He was a meticulous organiser as witnessed in the sports days and also on school trips abroad. The first trip to USA in 1969 which took 112 students and 8 staff (including myself) to Boston, New York, Washington and Florida must have required great organisation and it seemed to go without a hitch. He was a big man, a larger than life character who enjoyed life to the full and I could provide many stories to support these comments. We lost contact soon after he left the School but I have many fond memories.
Martin Carr – A legend in his lifetime and beyond……
PE, forget your kit (I often did) and it was bare feet and underpants! Dirty kit got a clip around the ear. I remember one week cleaning my plimsolls in the cloakroom before assembly not realising that “Meltonian”?vv would never dry in time for PE after break. When asked why I had not cleaned my kit I genuinely replied that I had – a couple of whacks later I admitted I hadn’t; you don’t need to ask what happened next!
Another memory, from a house rugby match was nursing a bloody nose to be told “rub the blood over your face and make yourself look vicious”
Cross country – I remember us diving into Brian Bromley’s house in Midfield way rather than doing the course.
A group of us from 1959 – 66 recently celebrated 50 years of friendship and more than a few beers were consumed remembering “Mart”. Despite all the pain and humiliation felt at the time those memories were mostly with affection!
Sincere condolences to his family
It is with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Martin Carr through CVTS Updates.
Martin and I hit it off quite well right from our first rugby lesson. He sold me a dummy to demonstrate that running fast and playing hard were not all that was involved in playing the game. Even though I could match up to his sporting expectations I, much the same as everyone else, was always waiting for the remark or punishment that would accompany the smallest of misdemeanours.
All in all I was treated well by Martin and, although my relationship with Martin was never close, I have always admired him for his dedication to his profession and his single-mindedness in trying achieve perfection in all he did.
I would like to offer my condolences to his family
I have thinking a lot about the death of Martin Carr and while he remains a constant source of fun and stories among us old boys, I have been reflecting on the way he and others like him, have had a profound effect on my life and whether his passing is symptomatic of the exhaustion of liberty and exceptional freedom that we, the post war generation have enjoyed. Have we lost something with the passing of the Martin Carr values? Discipline, toughness, self reliance, self control?
In the era of self absorption, do your own thing and express yourself, now turned sour with political correctness selfishness and disrespect a common feature of my children's era, have we too easily set aside Martin's tough love approach?
Personally I was in the van of the sixties hedonistic rush. For a start I was one of Leo Walmsley's boys, long hair, sideboards and a decorated apron to boot, I wanted to do sculpture and alloy the copper in the workshops, not turn out knurled tools to equip me as an engineer fit for Cray Avenue's gleaming new factories. I messed about under the stage, creating stage sets and dressing up in silk and sequins-a real Art Room nancy. What good was such a boy to the first XV?
And yet from the first day in my dad's Blancoed ex army plimsolls we were under MC's influence. Straight backs, cold showers, and grunts in the scrum complimented tree climbing and scraps in the playground. From one such bloody encounter, skilfully dispersed by Martin he took me into his office and invited me to scrap it out with the bully in question- Queensbury style. Art Room nancy one, bully nil, plus instructions to clean the blood off the precious gym floor. From this muscular pigheadedness, he groomed me as a strictly 2nd XV wing forward. "Hard and fair" he enjoined, while walking on my back and threatening the dreaded wall-bars. While Walmsley boys were treated with suspicion, what with their pots and all right next to the Upper Ganges of CVTS, the changing rooms and MC's office, I was a regular visitor to the notice board and the copperplate team selection sheets.
The competitiveness, the love of the team and a will to win, straight out the Carr pantheon of virtues for young men, has served me well throughout the difficult parts of my life. While the sideburns pained him and my decorated parka amused him, an unholy conspiracy with my Dad (Whack him hard like parade ground recruit if he slacks off!) Martin Carr encouraged a love a sport which has never faded. Typical was a summons to the dreaded office in the Spring term. Would this mean rugby ball inflation detention, or had word reached MC of a stop off in John Gallop's house on the cross country run?
No none of this. "Next term is athletics and sports day" he intoned whacking the rugby ball pump at his beloved Gymnastics calendar. "The school half mile champ (I think it was Peter Bennett, a real super star and 1st XV school hero) could have a problem retaining his crown. I want you to beat him." "What me sir?" "Yes you boy. Report for training lunchtimes and after school." Uh oh conflict between pounding the track and girls in the Sidcup coffee bar after school, but Sports day duly came: chairs in line, boys in even straighter lines; each flag around the track equi-distant, measured out by MC's pace stick. Leo Walmsley laughed in a sympathetic do your best way and Reg Mayo, ever the gent, shook my hand adjusted his tie and wished me well. Off we went. I shadowed the field and the rugby three quarter superman. As the bell rang for the final lap I glanced at MC, eyes flicking between a fellow games master (Mr Eaton?) and his trusty stop watch. Bottom bend. Still no move from the all star and now two games masters screaming "Go Boy Go!" For Christ's sake run! "What me."."Yes you!" Well I kicked for home in the spikes lent by Martin Carr and watched Leo Walmsley's jaw sag, Mr Carbery whooped and I turned to see the field way behind. A truly proud moment as I ran through the tape and MC jammed his thumb on the watch. "Well done" he beamed. "I told you so, but why did you wait? I want you to knock 10 seconds off that for the County championships. Next Race!"
It was not until I had left school that I learned that my half mile triumph had been the subject of a bet among the games masters. It was some years later that I was told that MC had backed the Rugby star. We will not see his like in education again. Martin was a true maker of men.
God bless him.
I would like add an anecdote which exemplifies some Martin Carr's attributes mentioned above by others :
It was the last game of the 1962/63 rugby season for the under-14s (Barry Borrow's team). We had not lost that season and were playing another unbeaten team, Catford Comprehensive.
Playing up the slope on the Crittal's Corner pitch against a very big team, we had a bad start and were soon 0 - 6 down to a penalty and a try. When they scored the try we heard their sports master shout, "Well done Catford, this is another one in the bag". We were told after the match, by the parents who were watching, that upon hearing this Martin strode down
the touchline and said to the master, "I bet you five pounds that my boys score 30 points in the second half". "You're on!" he replied. None of us on the pitch were aware of this.
By half time we had clawed our way back to 6-all, and I'll never forget Martin's quietly spoken but determined team talk :
"Why are you making such hard work of this lot? They're big but they don't know how to play the game. In the second half, down the slope, you are going to run them ragged, score try after try, and keep running them ragged right up to the final whistle - no let-up."
There was no mention of a 30 point target, there was no need, we scored 35 and won 41 - 6. After the match Martin was very pleased!
I don't think it's hyperbole to finish with a ( slightly amended ) quotation from Hamlet :
"He was a man, take him for all in all, we shall not look upon his like again."
I joined CV in 1959 and in my opinion the PE/Games masters Parry and Carr ran a well disciplined ship. I think Martin Carr took over the department in my second or third year and was joined by Mr. (Phil?) Lewis. I have many fond memories of Martin Carr who always demanded the best of all his pupils and I agree with other writers comments that he was instrumental in ensuring CVTHS maintained an enviable reputation both in and out of the sporting arena. His extreme disciplined approach was also balanced with a sense of humour albeit I did not always realise it at the time. I certainly benefitted from his attention to detail and beliefs that we could all go that extra yard; learnings that have helped and remained with me throughout my career and personal life. I loved playing sport and was was proud to represent our school colours on the field of play and although we did not always win we never gave up trying. One thing is for sure, we were always the smartest!
My condolences to Martin's wife and family.
One fine summer day Martin Carr was unimpressed with the amount of effort 5S was putting into training for the Annual Sports Day. He lined us up, strode out into the field and shouted
“If any boy can get near me with the javelin I will give him five pounds”. A gasp of anticipation emanated from the throng – and up stepped Philip Reilly. Another gasp as the javelin sped unerringly for the centre of Martin’s chest, he dived sideways and the dreams of half the Class evaporated. Reilly received his reward before departing home - five pounds of potatoes!