Adam Smethurst boarded at Hill Side from 2014 - 2019, having previously attended Yardley Court, and was at Exeter University reading History when he died in November 2021.
His influence was out of proportion to his small total of years, and he left a deep impression on all who met him. This was of a polite, inquiring and interesting young man, always prepared to learn and to listen but also to state and defend his beliefs. What made him unusual and memorable was his commitment to people who felt, like him, somewhat out of the mainstream, and also his striking moral courage in speaking up, including before the whole school in Chapel, for sometimes uncomfortable principles. In addition he was hugely influential in the setting up of ‘Bridge the Gap’ in its current form, co-chairing the Society in its second year and instigating a weekly meetings format. The Society provided a safe environment for boys to talk about the difficult aspects of navigating teenage years. The expression of these attitudes left a lasting mark on the culture of Tonbridge, in a way that can only be considered positive, and that also hints at a sadly unfulfilled potential for good.
He sang for many years (including while at Yardley Court) in the Chapel choir. He was a stalwart of the shooting club and represented the school at many competitions, often at Bisley, and several times also shot for England Schools. He was in the RAF section of the CCF throughout his time at Tonbridge and flew on numerous occasions with the Air Experience Flight. He was an enthusiastic and accomplished scuba diver with a lot of experience in Mexican cenotes. He was also an addict for the drama of Formula 1 and loved fast cars in general. He laughed a lot, with a keen sense of the absurd and had a surprising taste for 1970s prog rock (sometimes also the cause of his amusement). All these things brought him great happiness, and when combined with his playful and gregarious nature, university nights out with him were apparently never dull.
He was engaging well with his studies and in his second year at Exeter when he died. His loyalty, warmth, gentle kindness and the importance he attached to friendship were notable, and all who knew him feel his loss keenly. The reaction to his death has surprised and heartened his family: he loved deeply and this was widely reciprocated.