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News > Deaths & Obituaries > REDSTON, David


You are warmly invited to leave a message below, share your memories, and celebrate the life of David Redston who we sadly lost in 2022.

The following obituary was written by Lionel Austin (CR 86-13)

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of David Redston, a much valued former member of the Modern Languages Department, and of the School as a whole.(CR 75-98)

For those who knew him he will perhaps be remembered principally as a teacher of Russian. However, his inspiring teaching of Russian was far from being his only contribution to the School!

Early on in his education he excelled at Latin and French; his penchant for languages was soon in evidence again as he took up Greek with great success and his love of the Classics took him to Oxford in 1955, where he added Theology to the broad palette of subjects he studied.

David was the very opposite of an ‘ivory tower’ student. He was not only a competent rugby player but also became a keen golfer, and, as if that wasn’t enough, he was also an excellent pianist.

His impressive range of academic and sporting accomplishments was complemented by a love of travel, both in England and further afield, sometimes much further afield! Before Tonbridge, David, accompanied by his growing family, taught in Tasmania, Leamington, Somerset, Canada and Texas. It was during his time in Somerset that he embarked on a one year course for young teachers to learn, and teach, Russian, in which he later took a doctorate.

It was Tonbridge School’s good fortune that David spotted an advertisement in the TES for a Russian teacher who could also offer sport. He was appointed and threw himself into Tonbridge life. For him, Russian was not just a classroom subject: he ran seven school trips to the Soviet Union. He was amazed by the enterprise of public school boys and how they could deal with the Soviet Union and its strange procedures and a former colleague mentioned an ‘unforgettable trip’ to Russia with David in the winter of ‘84.

David’s love of travel was well exemplified in 1986-1987, when he spent a year teaching Russian at the University of Colorado. On his return he continued to offer an amazing variety of  contributions to the School. He was not only a teacher of five subjects, mentioned above, but also, along with David Clack and Dick Longley, ran the School’s golfing team and was proud of the team winning the Public Schools’ Golf Championship. David Clack recalls that it "was a highlight to be the minibus driver for the ‘Doc’ for many years on the golf club outings, where our friendship evolved. Golf society became ‘lessons in life’, characterised by his humour, good nature and wisdom. Most memorable was the great success of our golf team winning both the Public Schools’ and European Schools’ Championships in 1986. Also memorable were the historic walks, known as the ‘hysterical walks’, reflecting our shared sense of fun. A great friend and a kindred spirit."

Less well known, but equally worthy of mention, are several other tasks David carried out at Tonbridge. He had the unenviable task of organising the Skinners’ Day prizes. Additionally, quite apart from teaching academic subjects, David provided coaching in English to overseas students, who will have certainly valued his help.

David will be remembered by those fortunate enough to have known him as eminently, but unassumingly, erudite, warm, approachable and, above all, fun!

With thanks to his daughters Jo, Sarah and Carolyn for kindly sharing so many details about their father, and to David Clack. It seems fitting to end with a quote, not from David, but from his grandmother. “You will only get out of life what you put into it.” David’s life was a shining example of this. He made a huge contribution to the School and much enriched the life of those around him.

(CR 75-94)


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