Tributes have been paid to a ‘much loved’ and ‘well respected’ Horsham teacher.
Roger Beaumont, more commonly known as ‘Basher’, died shortly before Christmas after suffering a stroke at the age of 75.
Although not originally from the town, Roger became a Horsham stalwart after spending nearly 32 years teaching at Forest School and becoming a firm favourite with many in the community.
Paying tribute his daughters Ali, Debbie and Helen described him as a kind and generous man.
They said: “We will fondly remember Dad for his great sense of humour, kindness and generosity, it was wonderful to have a father with such a wide range of knowledge on so many different subjects, from his love of nature, sport, history, and of course science, his chosen subject.”
Roger grew up in Tunbridge Wells and attended Rose Hill School for Boys before going on to train as a teacher.
While he was still living in Kent he met Mary and a year after they moved to Horsham in 1965 the pair got married. They went on to have three daughters - Ali, Debbie and Helen - and have five grandchildren.
At the age of just 22 - not much older than some of the boys he was teaching - Roger took up his first and only teaching post at Forest School in Horsham.
He spent nearly 32 years at the all-boys school mainly teaching Biology but also taking Personal and Social Education (PSE) classes and his own form tutors.
Ali and Debbie said their father loved his time teaching and said one of his funniest stories he would share was how he would tell everyone he never had to buy cigarettes as he would confiscate them from pupils at school.
They added they also believe he got his nickname ‘Basher’ from the items he used to throw at students who were misbehaving in his classes.
In 1996 Roger retired from Forest. But his break didn’t last long as he was back in work a few years later in the post room at Horsham District Council.
He spent ten years in the post room before retiring for a second time in 2008.
Ali explained teaching was just one of Roger’s passions as he was a keen sportsman and particularly loved his cricket. He played for Linden Park for many years before moving to Ifield Cricket Club in the 1960s, even stealing the backpage headlines on a few occasions.
He was also a keen gardener and spent many hours at his allotment in Littlehaven, growing plenty of fruit and vegetables which he would give to his friends and family.
Despite all these activities Roger still found time to visit the town and in particular his two favourite pubs. He was a regular at the Stout House and the Bear and Ali and Debbie said he would sometimes go for a lunchtime drink with other teachers at the Foresters while working at Forest School.
They said he couldn’t walk through town without people recognising him and saying hello and the family had been inundated with messages of condolences since his death.
Following the announcement of his death, hundreds of his former students praised his teaching and great sense of honour on social media, sharing stories about how he helped them through school and describing his loss as an ‘end of an era’.
His daughters added: “It has given us great comfort at this sad time to realise how loved and well respected he was by so many. He was a much loved dad and grandad and will be sadly missed by his family.”
His funeral is due to be held at the Surrey and Sussex Crematorium at 2.15pm on January 18. All are welcome to attend, the family have said.
However, before everyone will get to say their last goodbyes Ali said his hearse will be driven through the Carfax so he can have one final trip through the town he loved so much.