Our stepfather, Frank Regan, who has died aged 82, was a lifelong socialist, a militant pacifist and an inspirational English teacher to generations of Ashton grammar school students. Beneath his modest, unassuming exterior, Frank was a fiery and uncompromising believer in social justice and equality.
He was born in Wigan, the son of a schoolteacher. His mother died young and Frank was cared for by his father and a circle of aunts. He was educated at St Philip's grammar school, Birmingham, and in 1942 went up to Birmingham University to read English. But in April 1943 he was asked to leave because he had stopped attending the university training corps parades. Protracted dealings over his conscientious objections ensued while he pursued his own higher education in the public library. Finally, Frank entered the Royal Army Medical Corps. Demobbed in 1947, he resumed English at Birmingham, took a teaching certificate and began teaching English at Ashton in the early 1950s.
Born a Roman Catholic, Frank gravitated to the Quakers but ended up an atheist. His conventional, gentlemanly exterior masked the passionate earnestness of the Aldermaston marcher in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. His last years were filled with anger at the invasion of Iraq and New Labour's betrayal of its roots and values.
His loves were music, literature, the visual arts, theatre and, not least, cricket. Frank was an overarching presence in his pupils' lives, as he remains in ours. He taught us the wisdom of compassion, the uses of reason - all salted with humour. He leaves behind ourselves and our mother, the novelist Stevie Davies, whom he married in 1990 and placed at the centre of his universe, and whose work he supported in every conceivable way.
I am the widow of Frank Regan, teacher of English and Careers at Ashton Grammar School, a place which he had in his heart throughout his working life. I am undertaking a Christmas Fast this year, with Frank’s stepdaughter, Emily, in memory of him and in aid of Médecins Sans Frontières, a charity dear to Frank. May I ask you to forward the email below to those teachers who worked with Frank, in case they would like to contribute?
Many thanks to you,
Would you consider sponsoring my Christmas Day fast for Médecins Sans Frontières' Congo Appeal? I expect it to be a doddle, since the fast involves only abstinence from eating birds, animals, sprouts, stuffing, gravy, pudding etc. I shall allow myself a good hunk of fresh granary bread and a drink of pure water - for I intend to celebrate & not be miserable. My daughter Emily will be joining me: our fast is in memory of my partner, her stepfather, Frank Regan. I promise to acknowledge every contribution - and will report back in the New Year.
MSF has asked me to set up a Just Giving page at http://www.justgiving.com (please see Fiona's letter below). The address of my page there is http://www.justgiving.com/steviedavies. If you have trouble accessing this, go to the home page & type Stevie davies into the box marked ‘Friend’. Should you prefer to send a cheque, please write it to 'Médecins Sans Frontières' (not to myself) and send to Dr Stevie Davies, 63, Castle Acre, Mumbles, Swansea SA3 5TH.
Very best wishes & happy Advent - Stevie
Thank you so much for your note to me and news of your Christmas Day Fast for MSF. It is so good of you, thank you so much! Have you thought of registering a Just Giving page to help sponsorship? It's at http://www.justgiving.com if you want to take a look.
Do let me know if we can help at all,
With every good wish and many thanks, Fiona
Médecins Sans Frontières (UK)
Médecins Sans Frontières (UK) is a company limited by guarantee.
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